Canine Cough

Canine cough (or kennel cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It causes tracheobronchitis (inflammation of the upper respiratory tract)  resulting in a dry, hacking cough. It may seem like the dog is choking. Fortunately, most dogs recover from canine cough without treatment, but certain individuals such as very young or very old dogs with compromised immune systems, may develop more serious disease that does require treatment.

Canine cough is an airborne disease which can spread amongst dogs through the air, direct contact or sharing contaminated items such as water and food bowls.  The disease is more likely to occur where large numbers of dogs are in close proximity to each other, such as at boarding and daycare facilities, parks and shows. It also spreads rapidly through a street or block in a suburb.

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Pet Dental Care

Pet Dental Care is something pet owners can’t ignore.  Did you know that regularly brushing your dog or cat’s teeth and providing her with a healthy diet and plenty of chew toys can go a long way toward keeping her mouth healthy? Many cats and dogs show signs of gum disease by the time they’re four years old because they aren’t provided with proper mouth care—and bad breath is often the first sign of a pet dental care problem. Give your dog regular home checks and make sure you visit us for a complete dental check.

Many health problems start in the mouth. Plaque, tartar, periodontal disease, and infected teeth serve as a source of inflammation and infection for the rest of the body. Dental disease is also a source of pain. There are many ways that dog and cat owners can help their veterinarian provide a healthy mouth for their pet. Our dental services at Mooikloof Animal Hospital include teeth cleaning and polishing, tooth extractions and minor oral surgery.

What is spaying or neutering?

Spaying or neutering your pet can help them live a longer, healthier life, minimises behaviour problems and helps control the population of unwanted pets. Spaying or neutering your pet eliminates unwanted litters, which contributes to thousands of euthanasia procedures and millions of stray animals. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best age to spay your pet. You can reduce the likelihood of certain cancers and tumours simply by spaying at the right age.

Spaying is a surgical procedure in which both ovaries and uterus are completely removed from your female pet. Also called an “ovariohysterectomy,” the surgery is performed while your pet is under general anaesthesia. There are many benefits to spaying your female companion. First, you will contribute to the prevention of the dog and cat overpopulation. Second, spaying will eliminate the sometimes ‘messy’ heat cycles that attract male dogs to your house from miles away. Third, you will help prevent diseases in your pet such as pyometra (infection in the uterus) and mammary cancer. Additionally, research has shown that pets that have been spayed live longer than pets that have not been spayed.

Neutering refers to the surgical procedure in which both testicles are removed. There are many benefits to neutering your male companion. First, you will contribute to the prevention of the dog and cat overpopulation. Second, neutering can help eliminate undesirable and at times, embarrassing behaviour in your male companion. Third, you will help prevent diseases in your pet such as prostate disease and testicular cancer.

What you need to know about vaccinations

Vaccinations protect your pet from several highly contagious diseases such as canine distemper, parvovirus infection and respiratory tract infections. It also protects against transmissible diseases such as rabies that also pose a risk to humans. Vaccination will not cure a pet that is already sick. Only healthy pets should be vaccinated. A veterinarian or a veterinary nurse administers vaccines.

Are there any risks?

The majority of pets experience no adverse effects following vaccination. A small number of animals may become feverish and have a reduced appetite. These reactions are mild and of short duration. In extremely rare cases, an animal may experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Such an animal can be treated successfully if attended to immediately. The possibility of such an event occurring does not justify considering not to vaccinate your pets, however, as that will leave them susceptible to a range of life-threatening infectious diseases.

Against what diseases should I have my pet vaccinated?

Vaccines used for the protection of pets are currently divided into core vaccines and non-core vaccines. The former are vaccines that should be given to all pets in all regions because they protect against diseases that are widespread and have serious effects. Non-core vaccines are only given strategically when a particular disease is prevalent in an area or when circumstances predispose to the appearance of the disease. Non-core vaccines are only administered after discussion with your veterinarian to evaluate the risks.

Core vaccines for dogs:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine adenovirus infections
  • Canine parvovirus infection
  • Rabies

Non-core vaccines for dogs:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel cough
  • Canine coronavirus
  • Canine herpesvirus

The basic vaccination programme for dogs:

  • First vaccination at 6 weeks
  • Second vaccination at 10 weeks;
  • Re-vaccinate at 12 weeks; includes the first rabies vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate at 6 months of age; includes the second rabies vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate thereafter every year, including rabies

Core vaccines for cats:

  • Feline panleukopenia
  • Feline herpesvirus infection
  • Feline calicivirus infection
  • Rabies

None-core vaccines for cats:

  • Chlamydiosis
  • Feline leukaemia
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus

The basic vaccination programme for cats:

  • First vaccination at 8 weeks of age
  • Re-vaccinate at 12 weeks of age; includes first rabies vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate at 6 months of age; includes second rabies vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate thereafter every ear, including rabies

Reducing Travel Stress in Pets

Author: Dr Quixi Sonntag BVSc Hons PGCHE MEd, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Thousands of animals are transported by air and other means on a daily basis the world over. Due to increased awareness, animal welfare has become an important consideration for anyone involved with transporting animals, especially pets such as dogs and cats. It is incumbent upon all pet shippers to ensure that the animals they ship are as comfortable as possible, both physically and mentally, so that the journey is completed with as little stress as possible.

Any novel (new) experience, or an experience that has previous negative associations, is potentially stressful for a pet. Travelling in a crate, alone and unable to escape can be very distressing for pets. In addition, dogs especially are predisposed to fear of loud noises and simply being in the airport warehouse in the presence of machinery sounds could be highly stressful for some pets.

In many cases, the fear and stress associated with travel can be significantly reduced. The two most important measures to achieve this, are habituation (to the crate, sounds and motion) and the use of medication and pheromone products. Please refer to our article Crate training tips to ensure good preparation of your pet for the trip. This article focuses on the use of medication during travel.

Historically, the use of medication for travelling pets has a bad reputation. The main reason for this is the type of drug that was traditionally used. One of the phenothiazine drugs, acepromazine (ACP), was for years the only medication used to sedate pets during travel. Its side-effects (such as a drop in blood pressure, a drop in body temperature, an increase in aggressive behaviour) are often severe and can even lead to the death of the animal. Furthermore, ACP does not reduce anxiety, but actually sensitises animals to certain stimuli. The use of ACP has been generally referred to as“tranquillisation” in the pet travel industry.

Since then, newer drugs have appeared on the market and instead of tranquillising the pet, actually reduce the anxiety. These newer anxiolytics can play an important role in improving well-being for pets during travel.

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Feliway Calming Aid

This product is perfect to help with cats peeing outside the litter box, scratching the furniture, fighting with other cats in your home and travelling.

Read more about the features and benefits of Feliway

Adaptil Calming Aid

This product is perfect to help your dog cope with staying home alone, loud noises, visitors and travelling.

Read more about the features and benefits of Adaptil

Winter Comfort

It has always been our policy to ensure that our guests are warm during the winter months. Based on our own research where we compared temperatures using different types of heating we have started upgrading and added rooms for dogs which are totally indoors. These buildings are built with bricks and mortar, have insulation in the roof as well as fitted ceilings and weather strips around the doors. This provides a relatively constant temperature in the sleeping area with the added benefit of being able to regulate the temperature more effectively by means of panel heaters fitted in strategic places inside these buildings. Some of the rooms are already fitted with rubberised flooring to enhance the insulation.

It is an expensive undertaking to house our guests in the same comfort as what they enjoy at home but we feel that it is an important aspect of their wellbeing whilst in our care. As the budget allows we are converting more rooms in this manner and moving away from the infrared heating lamps which does not allow for effective temperature regulation like an indoor, well insulated sleeping area. The ambient temperature during the winter months can fluctuate rather dramatically and to have a heating source which supplies the same constant heat without being able to regulate it is not ideal.

It is hardly ever necessary to provide additional heating during the day but we have the means and capacity to do so during cold snaps.

The units in our cattery are still heated by infrared lamps during the winter months – May to August.

For some interesting statistics, please visit this link for more information on ideal and safe temperatures for your pets.