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Puppy School Paw-fection: Ourvets


A passion for dogs and their good behaviour drives Sarah Ryan, Veterinary Nurse at Ourvets St Albans. With 15 years as a vet nurse under her belt, Sarah knows what makes our canine friends tick – right from puppyhood.

 

At Ourvets St Albans Sarah runs The Puppy Club – puppy training classes that are the equivalent of primary school for your furry new member of the family.

“At puppy school I teach you how to train your puppy, but also how your puppy learns, communicates, and develops,” she says.

“It is a fun and interactive course set over five lessons, where you get information, tools, tips, and tricks to ensure your puppy becomes a social, happy, and confident dog.”

Sarah says the first session is an owner’s only class and then you bring your puppy to the group for the next four sessions.

“We are very busy at the moment, with eight maximum per class, we have been running two to three classes with all of the pups aged between eight to sixteen weeks.”

At puppy school, small canines and large humans learn basic dog obedience covering sit, drop, come, and stay; toileting; crate etiquette; digging, barking, and chewing issues, as well as socialisation.

“Owners tell me they find the training really effective, and the recall command has brought back many a little escapee who is tearing across a park,” she says.

Sarah has her own dog, a gorgeous three-year-old Border Collie called Piper who is, of course, so beautifully trained she has already ready won the beginners grade in the National Dog Obedience competition.

However, for Sarah, working with Piper on dog obedience as well as a full-time vet nurse and puppy wrangler extraordinaire at Ourvets just wasn’t quite enough.

Sarah also has her own dog walking business, Pets Steps.

“I walk dogs one at a time or perhaps along with Piper. If owners request it, I can train their dog on how to walk on a lead really nicely at heel. The dogs respond really positively and I’m passionate about that.”


 

Why weight matters: Wigram Vet


Bella is a wonderful example of how a successful weight loss programme can lead to a major improvement in wellbeing. Bella’s owners love her but as she crept up to a biggest ever weight of 48kg there came a turning point when she became lame in her left hind leg. A tough love conversation was needed

 

Bella really looks forward to her swim time with Kate. We love the new look of her figure and mobility,” says Troy, owner of Bella.

 

At her current weight, Bella was a very poor candidate for a surgical repair of a ruptured cruciate for instance.

Bella had tried several diets, but Labradors have a food drive that defies any but the most well-organized of plans.

Bella is now a curvy 39kg and is on a happy path to her goal weight of around 32kg.

“We have achieved this with a combination of clever diet and exercise in our underwater treadmill. Her transformation is amazing,” says Wigram Vet Geoff Mehrtens.

Underwater treadmill exercise has many benefits for overweight dogs.

Even elderly arthritic dogs enjoy exercising in a carefully managed warm water environment.

Underwater treadmill exercise is a great way to rebuild wasted muscles. Muscle mass rapidly increases with minimal risk of injury to stressed ligaments and joints.

Geoff says, “Bella is more lively, enthusiastic and her skin has improved. She has literally shed years off her life and is looking forward to getting back to her previously active lifestyle.”

Obesity is a sensitive topic and unfortunately the clear benefits of a healthy bodyweight are often lost in a debate that becomes blurred by other issues.

At Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa they try to incorporate holistic wellness into their approach to your pet’s health. In modern western society many dogs and cats suffer from being overweight.

There are many studies that clearly show a link between obesity and decreased quality of life.

It can lead to osteoarthritis, cardiovascular issues and inflammatory disorders affecting ligaments, joints and skin.

Does your dog have difficulty rising or lying down?

This could be a sign of osteoarthritis and your dog may be trapped in a vicious cycle of feeling too sore to move and exercise.

If you would like to know more about the ‘K9FIT FOR LIFE’ program, please contact Wigram vet and the Good Dog Spa.


 

Essential Care: Ourvets


Over the last month of COVID-19 restrictions, Ourvets St Albans remained open to provide essential care for all our furry friends. It hasn’t been an easy process – frequent changes to the guidelines around what ‘essential care’ was permitted, long hours, understandably anxious clients and sick pets have made for a very challenging time. We caught up with the team about what life has been like inside the veterinary clinic.

 

 

Protecting our staff and our clients has always been front of mind when decision making during lockdown.

We needed to close some of the Ourvets clinics so that we could separate our staff into teams.

This was to ensure there would be no crossover of staff – if a team member became sick, one team would be removed, rather than taking out our whole workforce and potentially needing to close shop altogether.

We needed to ensure staff were safe and that our ability to provide essential care to pets wouldn’t be compromised.

We were very excited when Ourvets Halswell reopened and could once again provide essential information and care for clients and their pets.

While we have continued operating, our wonderful clients have not been allowed into the clinic for over a month.

This has been one of the hardest things for clients and we get it! It’s been challenging for us too.

We’ve all been feeling the emotional strain of not being able to comfort clients through difficult situations or simply to spend that extra time talking things through with them.

As many companies across the world have been looking for different and new ways to work, our team has been no exception.

We’ve introduced different ordering systems, phone systems and communication to clients, as well as developing completely new processes to operate safely in clinic.

The ideas that have come from this period have been so great, they will continue on, even once we’re back to normal.

This is not over yet, but we’re optimistic that together we can all get through this.

Our veterinarians, veterinary nurses, receptionists and managers are all doing their best. Please remember to be kind to them so that they can continue to look after you and your furry family members.

We look forward to seeing our wonderful clients and their gorgeous pets again soon.


 

Adding a furry new addition


A new furry addition to the family is always an exciting time, but it can be stressful too! There are lots of things to learn and things to prepare for. Diana of the Ourvets team has recently had a new addition, Rupert, a gorgeous, nine-week-old corgi. We caught up with Diana about what she considered when taking on her new addition.

 

 

Did you request any information from the breeder?

Absolutely. I asked about worming, any vaccinations which had already been done and which diet he had been on; all three of these are important to continue (or start) once the new pup arrives with you.

Puppies need to have more frequent worming treatments when they’re young.

All puppies are born with worms, so it’s important to get on top of these.

The best way to protect your puppy is by vaccinating.

As with worming, they receive more frequent vaccines as puppies, so it’s important to get the timing right.

Meanwhile, having some of the diet that the puppy was eating previously is a good way to avoid an upset tummy – even if it’s only to transition them onto the diet you intend on feeding them long-term.


What else will you do now that you have him?

I’m definitely going to get him microchipped and registered with the Companion Animal Register (NZCAR).

I will also organise insurance for him. Starting puppy preschool is also high on the list (he’s quite the rascal!).

There are many insurers that even offer a free period for puppies and kittens!

It’s a great idea to shop around for insurance to find the best fit for you and your pup, as there are many options.


Ourvets holds puppy preschool classes in St Albans and Halswell.

These are focused mainly on educating owners on raising well-rounded, happy pups at home, and less focused on teaching specific commands (although we do cover this too!).

These are just a handful of things to consider. Remember, the best place to get pet advice is from your veterinarian.

Ourvets recommends ‘Best for Pet’ – a preventative healthcare plan that will give your pet discounts and free consultations so you can ask all the questions you have without the worry of cost.

Ask in clinic to find out more, or visit www.bestforpet.co.nz.


 

Summer safety for pets


The team at Ourvets love the holiday season as much as everybody else, but between the fun and frolics, family pets sometimes get overlooked, so here’s some tips to keep them happy and healthy over the holidays

 

 

While we are filling up on holiday goodies, we all want to give our furry friends a treat too, but keep an eye on what and how much you are giving.

Roast meats (e.g. ham and turkey) are often very fatty and can cause acute illnesses for our pets.

Avoid fatty parts or skin and only give very small amounts of meat. Cooked bones are a big no-no for pets.

They might love these, but the bones can cause major blockages in pets’ guts.

The sharp edges of chewed bones can even pierce through the gut and be life-threatening.

Check in with the whole family and ensure they are aware of what they should and shouldn’t feed the family pet.

Both cats and dogs can quite easily suffer from heatstroke due to their limited ability to cool themselves down (they can’t sweat like us!).

Make sure to always have plenty of water available for your pets (some pets love ice cubes!); avoid taking dogs for walks or runs in the heat of the day (they can burn their feet on the pavement too!).

Never leave pets in cars, even for a short time, or if the car is in the shade – cars can be deadly for pets in summer.

Many people are aware of how toxic chocolate is to dogs, but many are not aware of how deadly lilies can be for cats.

If your cat gets any lily pollen on their coat, be sure to wash it off immediately with lots of water.

Be aware of chocolate around the home – on low tables, under the tree or in children’s stockings (that your dog might cheekily sneak into!).

Many of the above things can be avoided, and Ourvets wants you and your precious pets to have a safe and healthy holiday season.

If you are worried about your pet at all, don’t hesitate to give the team a call.

For more on Ourvets, as well as other great tips for your pet, check out the Ourvets website.