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Are routine blood tests helpful for your pet? Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa


Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa’s Geoff Mehrtens tells Metropol how screening blood tests can greatly enhance a vet’s understanding of your pet’s health and uncover many underlying illnesses.

Blood tests make a difference to cats’ and dogs’ wellbeing, sometimes a lifesaving difference.

“Blood tests are great value for money and vets love having that background information,” says Geoff.

“Your pet’s blood tests could literally be a life saver.”

Geoff says many underlying diseases such as chronic renal or liver failure, hormonal diseases like Cushing’s Disease, as well as diabetes and hyperthyroidism (in cats in particular) can all live undetected to the untrained eye.

“Undetected these diseases can cause irreversible damage to vital organs. However, early recognition can allow early and successful treatment and management to allow your pet to live to a healthy old age.”

Whether it’s peace of mind or to investigate a concern, speak with Geoff and the team at Wigram Vets and the Good Dog Spa about obtaining a pet blood test.

Max’s story:

German Shepherd Max had chronic intermittent skin problems.

His owners were frustrated, treating the same issue, year-on-year with no progress.

A more in depth workup including blood tests showed that he was hypothyroid.

Max is now on the road to recovery.

Cleo’s story:

Cleo’s owners were at their wits end with her inappropriate urination, and ready to say goodbye. She was elderly, depressed, and losing weight.

Routine bloods confirmed that she was a diabetic. Now her diabetes is well controlled she is back to being a loving, revered member of the family.


 

Curiosity cures the cat: Wigram Vet


When Jasmine the usually active Bengal cat became quiet and lost her appetite, her owner took her to Wigram Vet to investigate. Clinic founder Dr Geoff Mehrtens tells Metropol his unexpected findings.

 

 

Bengal cats are intelligent and active with an amazing patterned coat. They make vocal, livewire pets who fetch – much like a Border Collie.

So, when Jasmine became quiet and withdrawn her owner, Rachel, knew something was wrong.

She brought Jasmine to us because her appetite declined and she occasionally swallowed as if nauseous. Vomiting sometimes, she sometimes ate normally, too.

As a veternarian, it is always challenging to investigate subtle changes in appetite and attitude. Do we go into full diagnostic mode when the patient is otherwise normal?

In Jasmine’s case, an initial examination gave us no clues except her excessive swallowing which is sometimes seen with pharyngitis and esophagitis. Jasmine hates oral medication, so nothing is easy with Jasmine.

Symptomatic treatment appeared to ease her discomfort initially, but two weeks later Jasmine was still mildly unwell and was beginning to lose weight.

Defecation was reduced but normal, and scans showed nothing significant.

A week later with no improvement and further weight loss – we were getting worried.

So, we used an endoscope to look at her pharynx, oesophagus and stomach lining. Everything looked fine.

While anesthetized, we took the opportunity to repeat x-rays and ultrasounds. Again, nothing untoward was noted.

Again, I felt her abdomen. What was that soft mass I could feel? It had a strange spherical roundness that I could not explain, was this the answer we had been searching for?

An ultrasound showed just a normal-looking gas shadow – but we had to find out.

An exploratory laparotomy revealed a smooth foam rubber foreign body had long defied our attempts at a diagnosis.

A small piece of rubber missing from the end of her favourite toy, it was the perfect size to gently block her intestine, and the bowel was still healthy as the foam was allowing some ingesta through.

Tricky, very tricky.


 

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.


 

A positive grooming experience


Dropping your precious baby off for a groom can be stressful. After all, having our hair done is a very personal experience, whether it’s for us or our precious pup. Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa is a relatively new dog-centric business with a holistic approach to its doggy clients’ wellbeing.

Emma, head groomer at The Good Dog Spa, is very mindful of making a trip to the groomer a positive experience for both owner and dog.

“We don’t use crates. Both before and after their groom, our dogs get to hang out in the room with us in a very relaxed atmosphere. Dougal, my elderly maltese cross, comes to work with me each day. He is the perfect chaperone for nervous newbies, he is so gentle and welcoming. I strongly believe a puppy’s first grooming encounter must be a kind and positive one so that they learn to enjoy being groomed.”

Buffie brings Max (pictured) to The Good Dog Spa regularly.

“All the staff are welcoming and Max enjoys coming to see Emma, which is important as Max is getting on now.”

The Good Dog Spa has recently expanded its grooming hours to include Saturdays and late-night Wednesdays.

“My sister Amy is a well-known local groomer whom I’ve managed to entice to come and work with me,” Emma says. “We get on great and her experience enhances our skills with large dogs.”

The Good Dog Spa offers a range of doggy delights.

The daycare is small and boutique with a focus on small dogs, and offers short stays of up to two or three days.

Many grooming clients choose to use daycare as an option when their dogs are groomed to allow flexibility for drop off and pick up.

Another feature of the Good Dog Spa is canine rehab with underwater treadmill and massage from in-house canine rehab practitioner Kate Donald.

“We see many elderly golden retrievers and longhaired arctic breeds that love to have an underwater treadmill session to maintain mobility before heading to the groomer for a shampoo and blow dry. Clients love the flexibility and convenience of having all these services under one roof.”

Find Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa, at 155 Corsair Drive, Wigram. Phone 03 929 0987 or email reception@wigramvet.co.nz.

Sebastian and Emma (The Good Dog Spa)
Buffie and Max

 

Doggie Day Care: Wigram Vet


Tucked away at Wigram Skies, there is a new option for doggy day care which has become a popular location for busy people to entrust their canine whānau since its opening in March.

 

 

The Good Dog Spa at 155 Corsair Drive is a purpose-built dog-centric location for all things canine. The building houses veterinary practice, Wigram Vet, a dedicated canine rehab facility and groomer, and a small, boutique doggy day care facility designed with your dog in mind.

The Good Dog Spa specialises in puppies and smaller breeds. Spencer the whippet was only three months old when his mum Jo dropped him off with a tear in her eye. “I lead a busy working life and The Good Dog Spa gives me peace of mind that Spencer will be safe and happy while I’m working,” Jo says.

Afra, a diploma-qualified Vet Nurse and Senior Day Care Attendant really enjoyed seeing Spencer come out of his shell, grow confidence and have positive interactions with other dogs. “Day care provides an important opportunity to help young dogs grow into well-adjusted adults while away from their home environment.”

When Louie started going blind, his owner Kim didn’t want him to stop socialising. “The Good Dog Spa facilities allow Louie to have safe interactions with other dogs, which was our number one priority, as we didn’t want him to become scared of other dogs,” she says.

“We try to treat the dogs like they are our own pets,” Afra says. “We use lots of active play and both structured and unstructured activities to engage with the dogs on a one to one basis. The Good Dog Spa has three separate smaller rooms each with their own outdoor run area and drinking water which allows us to create mini groups within the main group as we want.”

Saturday pump classes are a high energy option for wound up dogs who need to unwind. These are taken by James Bowden who has a Masters in zoology with a focus on canine behaviour in his undergraduate degrees.

“In essence The Good Dog Spa always aims to give dogs warm and positive experiences. Our smaller size and unique facilities give us an advantage in the competitive doggy day care industry,” says Senior Day Care Attendant and Vet Nurse Aidan.

MINIDOG MONDAY: less than 10kg? You can come on Mondays for quality small dog time.

 

 


 

Daredevil in disguise: Wigram Vet


Scout is a typically energetic four-month-old Jack Russell Terrier who loves being involved with everything that is going on. One morning recently, Scout was a little too close to the action when a wooden pallet fell on her. When the team at Wigram Vet examined Scout, it was not immediately obvious what injury had occurred, but she was lame on her left hind leg.

 

 

After sedation and x-rays, a distal femoral epiphyseal fracture with approximately 35 degrees of displacement was identified for poor Scout. This injury is essentially a fracture at the growing zone (epiphysis) of the femur, at the end of her femur close to the knee, Veterinarian Geoff Mehrtens says. “Although outwardly the limb looks relatively normal, such a fracture would have serious effects on her limb as she grows if it was allowed to heal in the abnormal position.”

Geoff says surgery was the best option and Scout’s physically active family wanted the best possible outcome for her; she is after all, an important member of the family ski team. “It is a tricky surgery where we essentially must balance the distal knob of bone that forms the knee back on to the shaft of the femur with two semi-parallel metal pins. The post-operative phase is particularly important with these injuries. We must balance the need for confinement because the fracture repair has substantial stresses, with the need for maintaining function, movement and muscle strength. Due to the fracture being so close to the stifle joint, discomfort and lack of use can lead to muscle wasting and decreased mobility of the joint.”

Wigram Vets started Scout on a programme of physical therapy soon after surgery, managed by their canine rehab guru Kate Donald. This involved massage, range-of-motion exercises and some sessions in the hydrotherapy treadmill. The implanted pins were removed at an early stage to enhance the recovery of the joint.

“Scout is a model patient and has made an amazing recovery from a potentially crippling injury, because of the holistic integrated repair strategy she has received,” Geoff says. “However, she has not modified her daredevil behaviour and will, I am sure, continue to support Wigram Vet in the future!”