Mornington Veterinary Centre 03 453 0699 After-hours/Emergency Phone: 03 453 0699





Keeping Your Pets Safe in Summer!

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car!  On a warm day temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels causing organ damage and even death
  • Watch out for grass seeds!  Foxtail grasses can embed in eyes, ears, noses, paws and skin and often require surgical removal.   Check your pet thoroughly after being outdoors especially if they have been in long grass.
  • Have a “pet safe” BBQ!  Don’t share your BBQ food.  Your scraps and fatty leftovers can cause pancreatitis which may lead to abdominal pain or even death.  Corn on the cob and meat skewers are also a big no-no because they can lodge in a dogs intestine and need surgical removal.  Watch also where you throw waste BBQ juices and fat wastes, don’t discard on indigestible materials like gravel that your dog may be tempted to eat
  • Be aware that Christmas and holiday treats like chocolate, fruit mince pies and grapes are some of the foods that are toxic to dogs.
  • Be water wise! If you’re a boatie consider having your pet wear a life vest in a bright colour.  Beware of currents or riptides.  If your dog gets into trouble in one of these whether swimming or caught in a wave while fetching a ball they can be swept out to sea in minutes.  The same goes for  the current in a river as well.
  • Provide water and shade!   Anytime your pet is outside make sure they have protection from the heat and sun and plenty of water.  Trees or tarpaulins are ideal.
  • Use pet-friendly sunscreen!  Skin Cancer is common in cats and dogs.  Fur provides some protection from sun but noses and ears and bellies have sparse hair and need a special pet sunscreen applied every 3 to 4 hours.  Try to keep pets out of the sun in the middle of the day. 
  • Limit Exercise on Hot days!  Exercise Dogs in the early morning or in the evening hours.  Footpaths and roads get very hot and can burn your pet’s paws so walk dogs on the grass.  Place your hand on the footpath if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
  • Always carry water with you to stop your dog from dehydrating.

The Importance of your pets being Microchipped


The recent earthquake events that have quite literally shaken the length of New Zealand serve as a timely reminder that our pets are affected by natural disasters also. Even here in Dunedin where we were fortunate enough to be spared the full force of the earthquakes we have been informed about a number of animals that have gone missing over the week that followed. While there are many ways to identify your pet, there is only one which is not only lifelong but also does not rely on a collar. To do your best to ensure a safe return should your pet go missing, whatever the circumstances, is to have them microchipped. 

The microchipping process involves a small chip, the size of a small grain of rice, being inserted via a needle over the back of the animal’s neck. There are no recognised side effects of the process, other than local pain at the time of the insertion. This can be minimised by an injection of local anaesthetic being given prior to the microchip.  

We recommend that all microchipped pets should be registered onto the New Zealand Companion Animal Database. For a very small, one-off registration fee you have lifelong access to an online database that enables you to easily keep your contact details up to date, and provides valuable information on what to do should your pet go missing. The details on this database can be accessed by recognised organisations permitted to obtain this information, such as vet clinics, the SPCA and other shelter organisations.  

Dunedin City Council legislation (effective 1 July 2006) requires dogs to be microchipped within two months of their first registration, or from four months of age. In addition, unregistered dogs that become impounded or any dogs that become impounded for a second time must also be microchipped.  Failure to microchip your dog under these requirements can lead to a $300 infringement notice. It is optional for other pets to be microchipped, such as cats and even rabbits.  

There are additional benefits to your pet having a microchip other than for identification. Companies such as SureFlap have developed pet doors and feeding bowls which can be programmed to only allow your pet(s) access. This prevents unwanted neighbourhood animals from entering through your pet door and stressing out your animal, and ensures your pet that is on a special diet cannot eat the other pet’s food. We have demo models of both of these products available in our Mornington clinic if you would like to know more about how they work.  

The most important message we would like to emphasise is that your pets microchip is only effective as long as you keep your contact details up to date, whether that be with us, the local council, or on the NZCAR.  



Continuing Education for our Nursing Staff

Over the past two years we have been supporting two of our Mornington Vet Nurses as they have studied hard towards their diploma qualification, allowing them to become registered veterinary nurses (RVN). The Veterinary Nurse Diploma requires frequent submission of case studies, nursing portfolios as well as video submissions on a wide range of patients showing their understanding of the patient’s wellbeing and evidence demonstrating their skills.  During their study they also learnt a range of new intensive skills such as advance nutrition, canine behaviour, breeding programmes, taking blood samples, inserting IV catheters and much more. There is also an ongoing requirement to complete continuing education to ensure their skills and knowledge remain up to date, in order to retain their registration. Currently in New Zealand there are less than one hundred RVN’s, and we are very proud to boast that we have two.



A new way of looking after our Patients

The Mornington Veterinary Centre has a new close circuit camera set up in the hospital.  The Nurses and Vets are able to access the picture from the camera on their smart phones can move the camera up and down and can even talk to the patient or hear them.  This innovation enables the vets and nurses to keep watch on their patients overnight and know when they need checking on in person.









PET PAGES                                           Winter 2016

The Karearea (New Zealand Falcon)


The Karearea are thought to be one of New Zealand’s most endangered species.  It’s uncertain how many of these birds are in existence but there are thought to be only between 5000 and 8000.  While small in size, (the female weighs approximately 500g, the male, 350g, they are a fearless predator, with their preferred diet being introduced birds caught in mid-air.


Reaching speeds of up to 200 kph when hunting, they are New Zealand’s fastest native animal.

The falcon features on the back of the New Zealand $20 note and has been a protected species since 1970.


Recently the employees from the Department of Conservation bought in an injured Karearea to the St Kilda Veterinary Centre.   This bird had been found by a member of the public by the side of the road at Waipori and had been taken to DOC who then bought the bird in to us to be examined.

Physical Examination found a probable fracture of the bird’s left wing.  This was X rayed (see picture with the circled area) and a compound fracture of the ulnar was diagnosed.  The wing was put in a “figure 8” bandage splint and the bird was given pain relief.  We also put the bird on antibiotics as the bones had pierced the skin.

The bird was then taken to Nicky Hurring from Project Kereru, who arranged to have it flown to the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust which has its base in the Waihopi Valley in Marlborough.


We at the St Kilda have nursed many Hawks but it was the first time we had seen a New Zealand Falcon.  They are a darker shade of brown than the Hawk and about half the size, they are also much easier to handle than the Hawks as they freeze and unlike the Hawks they don’t attempt to use their beaks or talons on the Vets and Nurses .

If the Falcon isn’t able to regain flight well enough to be released back into the wild when healed it will be kept and used in the Captive Breeding program.


You can follow the story of this little falcon on the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust Facebook page, where it is reported she is well on the way to recovery.


A Dog’s story

Pedigree has teamed up with leading dog behaviour experts and Auckland Council's Animal Management team to launch A Dog's Story, an interactive adventure for children and parents to learn dog safety together via Colenso BBDO.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks but you can certainly educate kids and their parents to learn dog safety together and to build long lasting loving relationships between dogs and people.


This app is available on Google Play or on Itunes



Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Help – My cat can’t pee!

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a complex syndrome describing a cat who is in pain or discomfort when trying to urinate. It includes several conditions such as inflammation of the bladder itself (cystitis), different types of bladder stones, blockages of the urethra (which connects the bladder to the penis or vagina) or the cause may be indeterminable in which case it is termed ‘idiopathic’. Cats suffering from one or more of these conditions may strain before or after urination, pass only small amounts of urine more frequently than normal, urinate in places they normally would not and may or may not have blood in their urine.

As well as there being several conditions which contribute to FLUTD, it can be triggered by a number of different factors. For example, cats with FLUTD often do not drink enough water to meet their daily needs. This is especially a problem in cats eating primarily dry diets. Other risk factors include:

·                       Stress/Anxiety – such as from a strange or new cat, moving house

·                        Diet – Cats fed primarily a dry diet are typically at greater risk, but it depends on overall mineral balance, urine pH and water intake.

·                       Urinary Tract Infection may produce swelling and the formation of pus which can block the cat's urine tubes (ureter and urethra). Diabetes and some viral diseases may make cats more vulnerable to infection.

·                       Obesity - problems are more common in overweight and inactive cats

·                       Urine retention - cats which urinate less frequently, allowing urine to accumulate to large volumes in their bladder; or they may have restricted access outdoors

·                       Anatomical abnormalities or tumours may make it difficult for some cats to pass urine.

Cats may start displaying signs of discomfort quickly, and the condition can last anywhere from 3-10 days. In some cases your cat may require emergency treatment to treat an obstruction that is preventing them from properly emptying their bladder – we refer to these cats as being ‘blocked’. This is seen most frequently in male cats. As well as making more frequent attempts to urinate, these cats may also cry out in pain and lick their penis or vulva.

Emergency treatment involves passing a catheter to relieve the pressure of urine within the bladder, and various medical treatments to help ensure normal urinary function resumes. The urine is tested for the presence of bacteria or crystals, and an x-ray is taken to assess the bladder and urethra for the presence of stones. Sometimes these stones will need to be surgically removed immediately. The majority of cats we see with crystals or stones will be discharged with a prescription urinary diet which alters the pH of the urine so that stones are less likely to form, and to try to dissolve existing stones. Another x-ray is taken in one month to determine whether to remain on the diet or progress to surgery.

All cats displaying signs of FLUTD should be seen by a veterinarian to have their symptoms assessed and appropriate treatment initiated. Many can be treated and then monitored at home, but some cats will be admitted for monitoring by the veterinarian and for further treatment.

Unfortunately some cats may be affected by FLUTD throughout their lives. Ensuring there is always plenty of fresh drinking water available, and finding what drinking preference your cat has is one of the best ways of both helping to treat and prevent FLUTD at home. If your vet recommends a special diet for your cat is it important they remain on this diet for optimum urinary health.                                                                    


PET PAGESWinter 2015


Why desex your pet

Desexing (getting your pet ‘fixed’) is a part of responsible pet ownership for those who do not wish to breed their animals. In New Zealand veterinary clinics,   operations are very common practise and have a low complication rate. In males, the desexing operation is called castration, and involves removal of both testicles from the scrotum. In females, the desexing operation is called a spey and involves removing the uterus and ovaries from the abdomen.

Though the surgery presents an upfront cost, it carries many benefits that last throughout your pet’s life. Below are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to desex your pet.

Every year the SPCA and similar organisations struggle to find homes for thousands of unwanted kittens, puppies and adult animals. Bringing more kittens and puppies into existence, even if they all get good homes, means fewer homes for the unwanted animals in shelters around the country.

Unneutered cats are more prone to getting into cat fights which result in cat bite abscesses and potential feline immunodeficiency viral infection (FIV) or cat aids

Looking after a litter of puppies and kittens is a costly and time-consuming venture, requiring worming, vaccinations and checkups.

While the majority of canine and feline pregnancies progress simply, complications can occur before or during birth that require an emergency caesarean. This is a more dangerous and costly surgery than a simple spey (desexing operation).

Speying female dogs before their first heat has been shown to decrease the chances of developing mammary tumours and it eliminates the chances of developing pyometra, a potentially life-threatening uterine infection.

Castration helps to improve behaviour in some male animals with dominance and aggression issues and eliminates the chances of testicular tumours developing, and decreases the chances of prostate tumors and other prostate problems developing.

Having unspeyed female cats and dogs increases the chances of meandering males hanging around your property. Walking female dogs in heat can also be a challenge as they are very attractive to male dogs.

Giving long-term hormonal treatments to prevent female dogs going on heat or to stop males showing testosterone-related behaviours often end up costing more than the desexing operation itself. Like all medications, these medications also carry the possibility of side-effects. 

If you have any questions about the procedure, feel free to ring up and have a talk to our staff.

Finally, I interviewed a satisfied patient after the procedure–‘Without testicles, life has become much simpler. I am no longer concerned with impressing the lady dogs next door, and now that I’m not using Tinder I have much more time free on my paws. And my tennis balls are the only ones I have to worry about.  I highly recommend castration for all who want a calmer lifestyle.’




The end of life

The special relationship that exists between pets and people is a strong bond that has undoubtedly existed since the domestication of animals.  It has many benefits both emotional and physical for both parties.  Our pets are an important part of our lives, they aren’t just animals that live with us they are a part of our family.   Pets have a comparatively short lifespan and we will, in a lot of cases, eventually have to make difficult decisions. 

There are two things to consider when the end of your pet’s life is approaching these are, the quality of life your pet has, is it still enjoying any part of its life? And the dreadful strain emotionally and financially on the humans who love the pet and are watching it fade away, possibly in pain.  

Considering these two points will help you to objectively evaluate when the decision to euthanize should be made. Your veterinarian can also help you with this difficult choice by explaining your animal’s condition and chances of recovery.  The Vet will help you understand fully the condition that your pet has so you can make an informed choice for its future.

 Euthanasia of a pet is one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make it forces you to put the wellbeing of the pet first despite the pain it will bring you. 

The process of Euthanasia is accomplished for pets by injecting an over dose of the euthanasia drug.  Your veterinarian will most often administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet and follow this with an injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will immediately become deeply and irreversibly unconscious.  Death is quick, dignified and painless.


Rodent bait poisoning in dogs.

During autumn and winter rats and mice like to shelter from the weather just as we do and in these seasons rodent poison is most likely to be laid in buildings and therefore be available to our pets. 

The chemical used in Rodent poison is a type of blood thinner designed to cause internal bleeding by overdosing the animal on an anticoagulant which prevents the blood from clotting.  The chemical is incorporated into an attractive smelling mixture of grain and wax which the rodents can’t resist. Unfortunately dogs can’t resist the baits either so  the baits must be  left in an area that the rodents go to but dogs can’t get at them for instance in the eaves of the house or in dog proof bait stations.

The minute you become aware your dog has consumed rodent baits you should get it to the Vet.  If it’s very recent that the dog swallowed the bait then the vet can make the dog vomit and give it the antidote.  Even if it’s some time since the dog had access to the bait the antidote is still given. Dogs that have been seriously poisoned with rat bait may collapse due to blood loss, look weak or cold, have pale gums and have bloody urine and stools.

If you still have the packaging of the baits take it in with you to show the vet.   The active ingredient of the baits will determine the length of time monitoring will be needed and the treatment.  Close monitoring will be necessary following recovery and in some cases treatment may take several weeks.


HUMAN FOOD = Toxic to Dogs

Just a reminder that there are some human foods that dogs love but they should NEVER have access to, these include :

Chocolate, Grapes and Raisins Macadamia nuts and Walnuts, Onions and Garlic.

These are some of the commonplace foods that are dangerous to a dog’s  health.








Sea Lion Pup

During a routine DOC inspection of sea lions at Victory Beach a 6 month old pup was found with an injured jaw. The pup, who weighed about 40kg, was captured in a net and transported to the St Kilda Vet Clinic. At the clinic the pup was initially sedated then anaesthetised using a gas anaesthetic administrated via a face mask.
The pup was found to have a broken lower jaw and the skin on the lower jaw had been torn away from the bone. The injuries were probably caused by an aggressive male sealion. The broken jaw was wired to hold the bone stable while it healed and the lower jaw skin was sutured back in place.
The pup was then taken back to its capture site at Victory Beach. Four weeks later the pup was found with its mother at Sandfly Bay. The pup was doing well and obviously had been feeding ok. The pup was caught in a net, sedated, and the wire around the jaw removed.
Pyometra is a serious infection of the womb resulting in the accumulation of pus within the cavity of this organ. Pyometra is a common disease in un-neutered female dogs that requires major surgery to cure. Each time a female has a season (usually about twice a year) she undergoes all the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy – whether she is pregnant or not. The changes in the womb that occur with each cycle make infection more likely with age. The disease often occurs in the weeks or months following a heat.
Signs include licking her back end more than normal, lack of appetite, increased thirst, sometimes the pus escapes from the womb and a reddish-brown or yellow discharge is seen (but not always), as she gets more ill she may start to vomit. Diagnosis is suspected based on symptoms shown, confirmed via blood tests, x-ray &/or ultrasound.
Treatment is ovariohysterectomy or spey. This is the same operation as carried out to routinely neuter a female cat or dog, however in a sick animal suffering from pyometra it carries much more risk and expense.
Most animals will die if surgery is not performed. Toxins will be released which will get into her blood stream, eventually these toxins can cause kidney failure. If you are not intending to have puppies from your dog then she should be neutered at as young an age as possible. If neutered before her first season, she is also protected against breast cancer developing later in life. Ask your vet for details about the best time to have your pet neutered.
A Catnip high
Most cats love catnip. When they eat or even just smell it they drool over it, vocalize and purr and roll all over it and around it. Some cats become very hyperactive or very sleepy and occasionally some will get hissy and aggressive.
There are different theories on what causes these reactions, some scientists think the herb has an aphrodisiac affect while others think it creates an effect in cats like marijuana has on humans. But whatever the affect the majority of cats large and small feel it.
Catnip or catmint is the name of a common garden herb. It will grow from seed into a meter high plant with small green serrated leaves and small lavender flowers just as long as a cat doesn’t find the plant. It was once used in human herbal medicine as a tea for headaches and sore stomachs and as a mosquito and fly repellent. Mice and rats avoid it, another good reason to have it around. So the next time you want to see your cat having fun and acting like a youngster again buy him/her a catnip toy to play with or plant some catnip.
HealthymouthTM is a new water additive which is clinically proven to control the plaque which leads to inflammation and gum disease without chemical agents. It cleans teeth and gums and reduces bacteria that if left untreated, can enter the bloodstream causing damage to vital organs.
HealthymouthTM is not a treatment for dental disease, it does not remove plaque,its action is to prevent plaque from forming in the first place. Daily use of Healthy-mouthTM and professional cleaning work together as a comprehensive dental care programme. You simply add the product to the regular drinking water. It is effective at all life stages; from preventative dental care for puppies and kittens to improvement for seniors with dental disease.
Optimum results will be obtained when started directly after professional dental cleaning by a veterinarian.


Foreign body

A dog presented with a firm object underneath its skin which the owners suspected was a splinter. There were no external punctures or wounds. We anaesthetised the dog and made a small incision over the object - which turned out to be a sewing needle!









Last week Herman said goodbye to the Mornington Clinic and hello to the Polytech Veterinary Nursing School. Herman is 35 years old!