Towsytyke Cairn Terriers, Australia


Welcome to Towsytyke Cairn Terriers


We only intend to discuss what we consider to be the five most important issues of basic health care for your dog or puppy. These are for Australian climatic conditions.
We strongly recommend if your dog or puppy appears to be ill CONSULT A VETERINARIAN.

What is Heartworm?
Heartworm is a parasitic disease of dogs that is transmitted by mosquitoes. An infected mosquito bites the dog, and injects a larval stage of worm under the skin. This larval stage develops in the dog’s tissues for 5-6 months before becoming an adult worm in the dog’s heart and pulmonary blood vessels.
These adult worms then mate and produce microfilaria (baby heartworm) which are drawn up by a mosquito when it feeds on the dog, and the cycle begins again.

  What are the signs of Heartworm? Initially, little or no signs of infection may be seen. Heartworm is usually an insidious or slow onset disease. Months or years may pass before any signs are seen. When symptoms appear they are usually signs of early or more severe heart failure. The worms physically interfere with the mechanical action of the heart valves and cause inflammation and roughening in the blood vessels going to the lungs. The heart has to work much harder in order to pump the blood and starts to become enlarged and dilated. The earliest signs may be shortness of breath or nagging dry cough. As the disease progresses, breathing becomes more difficult, the abdomen may distend with fluid and the dog becomes lethargic, loses weight and often stops eating. If left untreated, heartworm is nearly always fatal.

How do I know if my dog has heartworm? A blood test is performed at a vet clinic. The results are often available before you leave the surgery. Can heartworm be treated? Yes, however, treatment is not without potential problems. Prevention is far better than treatment.

How do I prevent my dog from getting heartworm? If your dog is over 6 months of age, a blood test is necessary before you commence prevention. Prevention should begin at 6-8 weeks of age and is achieved by giving medication, either on a daily or monthly basis. Daily medication comes in a tablet and a liquid form, and must be given each day and every day to be effective. Monthly medication comes in conventional tablet form, or in a beef flavoured chewable “lolly”. It has more room for error, for, although best kept to the same day each month you have up to a week to remember to give the tablet and your dog will be fully protected. Several types of monthly tablets help protect your pet against intestinal worms as well.

How common is heartworm? Heartworm is very common in Queensland and New South Wales. Over 50% of non medicated dogs will become infected with heartworm. The disease is even worse in tropical areas and has now spread throughout Australia with cases found in Melbourne and as far away as Perth. Anywhere mosquitoes can be found is a potential source of infection. (back to top)

The INTERNAL PARASITES that plague dogs and cats, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and others, have been carefully studied for well over a century. Nevertheless, there is still much to be learned about how they cause damage, how the body combats them and how best to control them. All the experts agree that without basic precautions to minimize transmission of internal parasites, anthelmintic agents alone cannot do the job. Owners must become actively involved in a parasite prevention program for their pets.

What worms do to a dog or puppy
: The damage internal parasites can do to an animal is perhaps as varied as the type of parasite themselves. In general it is known that worms living in the digestive tract can cause gastro intestinal problems and interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Some, like roundworms, compete with the animal for nutrients and can lead to stunted growth and poor performance. Others- notably hookworms are bloodsuckers. Anaemia is a direct result of this worm’s feeding activity. The hook worm is a prime example. A single female can consume 0.5ml of blood daily. A worm load of 50 such feeders can be fatal to a puppy. Whipworms live near the junction of the large and small intestine, and their blood sucking damages the intestinal lining. Light infections may be asymptomatic, but heavy infections can cause chronic bowel irritation and blood tinged diarrhea.

Many of the parasitic worms have complex migration patterns through the body, and these can cause problems. For example, Toxocara roundworms hatch out I the gut, travel to the liver, and burrow around for several days before migrating to the lungs. They then break into an air cell of the lungs and are eventually coughed up or swallowed, thereby returning to the intestine, where they mature. Obviously, all this burrowing in the lungs and liver can cause problems, especially in a young puppy who gets a heavy load of parasites, all at once. Hookworm larvae can directly penetrate the skin, and in heavily contaminated kennels, this can result in severe skin irritation on the feet and legs.

Controlling Internal Parasites: Conscientious pet owners who have their pets checked regularly for worms, and treated when necessary may assume that other owners do likewise. But the facts do not bear that assumption. Experts estimate that about half of all pets have parasite infection, requiring treatment. Fortunately today’s Vet has a powerful arsenal of testing techniques and drugs to eliminate them, but needless to say, none of these can help an affected pet unless it is placed on a regular program of parasite control. That, in turn, requires a well informed and responsible pet owner. The best treatment, as always, is prevention, and when it comes to parasites that means knowing something about their life cycle and interceding when the worms are most vulnerable.

Roundworms, (Toxocara canis) are probably the most common internal parasites of dogs and cats. The life cycle of the dog roundworm presents an excellent example of why the parasite can be controlled but not eradicated. Roundworm eggs are shed in the faeces of infected dogs and cats. They are not immediately infective when shed but, later, require several weeks in the soil to mature to the infective stage. That holds true for many other parasites as well and is one of the reasons that frequent removal and proper disposal of manure is the cornerstone of all internal parasite control program. Once shed, roundworms eggs are extremely robust and can remain infective for months to years. Huge accumulations can build up in soil if animals are confined to the one place for long periods.

Even more distressing than the hardiness of the roundworm eggs is the ability of some species to infect the young even before they are born. During pregnancy, dormant parasites in the tissues of the mother are activated and migrate to the placenta or mammary tissues. Infective larvae of some species actually cross the placenta to infect the unborn; others shed in the milk and infect nursing mothers.

Given this life history, it would seem logical to treat the pregnant bitch. Unfortunately conventional anthelmintics have little or no effect on the dormant larvae in the bitch’s tissues and thus cannot prevent infestation in the pups. Because the larvae in the tissues, not adults in the intestine, are the source of infection, absence of roundworm eggs in the bitch’s faeces is no guarantee that her pups will be free of infection. Since complete prevention is unattainable, it is important to keep all breeding bitches as free of the parasite as possible to reduce the worm burden pups acquire. The puppies can also be infected by parasite eggs passed in the faeces of the mother, so every effort should be made to keep the environment as clean as possible.

Signs of roundworm infestation in puppies and kittens are easily recognised. A heavily infected animal develops a characteristic “pot belly” appears listless, is a poor grower, develops vomiting and diarrhea, and may cough because of the larvae migrating through the lungs as part of their life cycle.

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FRONTLINE is a new spray for dog and cats. It combines rapid knockdown of adult FLEAS with outstanding residual activity on the coat, and has a wide safety margin. FRONTLINE offers up to 12 weeks protection from fleas for dogs (average 8 weeks) and up to 8 weeks protection from fleas for cats (average 6 weeks) In addition FRONTLINE also offers up to 3 weeks protection from the paralysis tick.
General usage pointers:
a) ALL household pets should be treated.
b) A set dosage of spray is applied – a “dosage” guide is available – the dose is calculated according to the weight of the pet, length of hair coat, and severity of the flea problem.
c) A guide is available to help you evenly spray your dog, cats should be restrained by the scruff of the neck and sprayed all over, not neglecting the head, or tail region.
d) Spray against the lay of the fur, and ruffle the coat as you go.
e) Wear disposable gloves when applying and apply in a well ventilated area.
f) Do not apply within 2 days of shampooing your pet, and do not shampoo for 2 days after administration, as both these events can reduce residual effectiveness.
g) It is safe to use on pups from 2 days of age, and kittens from 7 weeks of age, and can also be used on pregnant or lactating bitches.
h) It is not an irritant to the face or the eyes – it is especially important to get good coverage of the face for paralysis tick control – it can be sprayed directly onto the face, or wiped onto a face cloth or cotton wool.
i) The spray is rapid dry – once dry, your pet is handled normally.
j) It is SAFE – and indeed, it is important to spray areas that have been irritated by fleas or flea allergies.
k) Regular washing does not reduce the residual life of FRONTLINE – though dogs that swim daily may suffer from reduced residual life.
l) The spray should be applied to a DRY COAT.
FRONTLINE is available at your local Veterinary surgery or Pet Barn.
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THE PARALYSIS OR SCRUB TICK injects a poison into the system which progressively paralyses the host animal, generally from the hind legs forward. It also often causes the lung tissue to produce large amounts of fluid and stimulates vomiting. Hence an animal with fairly mild symptoms can bring up a lot of mucous and phlegm which is often inhaled to give lung infection (inhalation pneumonia). The toxin will continue to work on the host even after the tick is removed. In most cases the treatment involves a single dose of Antiserum. This is made from dogs which have been made immune. It neutralises the toxin and the dog or cat will recover in 24-48 hours. In more severe cases extra treatment is necessary to treat the symptoms of pulmonary oedema (fluid on the lungs) or pneumonia.

Recommendations for owners: If a tick is found and the animal has no symptoms, spray the tick with AEROGUARD or RID to stop it injecting its poison. DO NOT use kerosene or Malawash as these may stimulate the secretion of the poison. Physically pull off the tick after about half an hour. 

If symptoms are present seek veterinary advice. DO NOT TRY TO GET THE ANIMAL TO EAT OR DRINK as the swallowing reflexes are likely to be absent and anything in the mouth will run into the lungs.
When the pet is sent home after treatment it will still be fighting off the after-effects of the toxin. It is important that the following steps are observed.
a) DON’T leave the animal in a hot place as they are prone to overheating.
b) DON’T allow much exercise for at least 7 days.
c) DON’T give food or drink unless the animal can lap by itself.
d) DON’T get the animal excited.
e) DO check daily for more ticks as a second dose of poison within 3 weeks is likely to have a very severe effect.

Tick dips are available for your pet. Please refer to the article (below) on the product FRONTLINE which offers up to 3 weeks protection from ticks. Be very careful what products you put on a young puppy – READ THE LABELS. If a product is safe for a cat or kitten then it is safe for a puppy.

The tick usually adheres itself to the head, and/or the front part of the body of the dog. The dog will become lethargic, its eyes will become “glassy” and sometimes will have a mucous discharge. In severe poisoning the dog will not be able to stand up on its back legs. Run your hands over the dog’s head, even lift the lips, look in the ears – you will feel a lump which gets bigger as the tick disgorges. Get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible as tick poisoning can be fatal unless the anti serum is administered.
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TOAD POISONING can occur if your dog or cat bites or mouths a cane toad (Bufomarinus). Cane toads secrete a toxic venom through glands which are located at the back of their heads. The venom is sticky and white. Most poisonings seem to occur at night or in the early morning and particularly after rain. However, toad poisoning can occur at any time of the day or night.

Signs of Poisoning: Profuse salivation, vomiting, disorientation, red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, muscle rigidity or spasms, convulsions and heart irregularities are all signs that may occur following poisoning. Signs develop within a few minutes and death can occur within 15 minutes. The venom is absorbed by the mucous membranes of the mouth when your pet mouths or bites the cane toad.

Treatment: If you see your dog or cat mouth a cane toad, or if you think your pet may have mouthed a cane toad, you should IMMEDIATELY wash out the mouth with cool running water. Rubbing the gums with a washer or cloth may help to remove the sticky toxin. Usually this is done with a hose but be careful not to turn on the water too hard as your pet may inhale the water. Directing your pet’s head towards the ground when you wash out the mouth will also help to prevent this. Continue washing out the mouth for at LEAST 10 minutes. Your pet then should receive further assessment and treatment from a veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not excite or stress your pet during the trip to the veterinarian.

In many cases it will be necessary to leave your pet in hospital for treatment and close monitoring overnight. Treatment varies with the signs that develop but may include sedation or anaesthesia, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids and ECG monitoring of the heart. Usually, an intravenous catheter is placed in a vein in the leg or neck of your pet. The catheter will stay in place until your pet recovers. Your pet will receive close observation and monitoring until recovery occurs.

When early treatment is provided, the rate of recovery is good, and in most cases, your pet will be able to go home the next day. However, if your pet is presented with convulsions, particularly after an extended period of time, the prognosis may be guarded. Your pet may require veterinary supervision both at the AEC and by your own veterinarian, for several days.

After Care: Your pet may be discharged home after the following day if he or she has recovered sufficiently. Alternatively, your pet may require further care. If you take your pet home we recommend that he or she is kept as quiet as possible for the next 24 hours. You may feed your pet the usual diet. If your pet requires further medication this will be discussed with you. Of course, you should be aware of the dangers of cane toad poisoning and look carefully before letting your pet out at night or where there are hiding places for the toads. Your pet will not develop a resistance to the venom and each poisoning may be potentially life threatening. (back to top)



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