Category Archives: Cats

Skin checks at Kingston TAH

You’ve checked yours, now what about theirs?

Australians know the importance of regular skin checks for their own health and well being.

Many dogs and cats have skin lumps that worry their owners.  If you find any unusual lump or swelling on your pet you should ask your vet to check it out.

Skin lumps in dogs and cats can be sampled easily and examined microscopically to determine their exact nature.  Many worrying lumps will be benign, but some may be malignant and potentially life threatening.


Skin Checks

Cost concerns may leave these bumps unchecked by a vet so at our Kingston Tasmanian Animal Hospitals clinic we are offering a 20% discount off all lumps and bumps consultations until Christmas.

Visit our Kingston clinic at 2/11 John Street.  Phone 6229 9345 for an appointment.

Contact us for more information or visit our facebook page.

Teeth Brushing for Dogs and Cats

Teeth Brushing for Dogs & Cats



Why brush?


Dental disease is very common. Almost all dogs and cats are affected by it by the time they are 3 years of age. The build up of food and bacteria in the mouth can often progress into painful infections.


Teeth brushing is the most effective way to keep your pets teeth clean. When used on clean, healthy teeth, brushing can help prevent or slow the progression of dental disease.


Please note that brushing is only useful for keeping “clean” teeth clean. It targets the “yellow fuzz’ stage (plaque).


If your dog already has dental disease, with a layer of a hard, brown crust (tartar), then brushing will NOT work to remove it. The only way to remove tartar is to have it professionally cleaned under anaesthetic. Most dogs require this procedure every 1-2 years. Once the tartar is removed, brushing can help to prevent further build up.


Will my pet tolerate brushing?


Most dog and cats will tolerate teeth brushing if it is properly introduced with a gradual ‘desensitization’ program. It is ideal to start at the puppy or kitten, although it can be trained at any age.


WARNING – Know your pet. If your pet is prone to biting, attempted brushing may put your fingers at risk. Teeth brushing is tolerated by most BUT not all pets. Your safety is very important!


What should I use?


Choose your toothbrush:

  • “Finger brushes” are usually the easiest to use. They slip over the finger like a thimble.4 tooth brush
  • “Dog toothbrushes” are also available. The handle is a longer and shaped for easier access to those back molars.
  • A soft children’s toothbrush can also be used – but don’t get it mixed up with your kid’s brushes!


Choose your toothpaste:

  • Do NOT use human toothpaste. Dogs do not enjoy the mint or frothiness!
  • Meat flavoured toothpastes are available, and act as a reward.
  • You can use no toothpaste if you find it easier.



Teeth Brushing Training Program


Phase 1 – Gum Touching

Find a calm time of the day (such as the evening) when you pet normally enjoys a nice pat. Stroke their head and the sides of their face till they are contented. Now lift the lip a little and gently touch their gum line for a second or two. Give them praise, pats or a small food treat straight away, so that they learn to associated the process with good things!


Repeat this process for a few minutes each daily. As they become comfortable with the gum touching, gradually increase the amount you are doing. The goal is to be able to touch the gums all over without distressing your pet. This may take a few weeks.


Phase 2 – Tooth paste.

Repeat Phase 1, with a little flavoured tooth paste on your finger. Once again slowly build up to the point where you can now massage a pet toothpaste around the whole gum line.


Phase 3 – Brushing

This is the hardest step. It is very important to start off slowly with brushing. The canine teeth are usually most accessible. Gently massage the gum line with the brush for a few seconds, and reward. Stop as soon as your pet starts pulling away or becomes irritable. Slowly build this up over the next few weeks till you can brush all the teeth.


Note – you only need to brush the OUTER surface of the teeth (next to the cheeks). Don’t worry about the inner surface as the tongue tends to clean this pretty well. The major areas of concern are usually the upper canines and the big back teeth.


Brushing should become a routine. Try and brush at round about the same time each day and make sure the routine is always rewarded by pats, encouragement and treats if required.


If you find tooth brushing too difficult, there are other alternatives for preventative care. However, remember that brushing is the cheapest way AND the most effective!




Make sure to get your dog’s teeth checked every 6 months or so by your vet. If the brushing is going well, hopefully we won’t need to do a dental procedure for a while!

Veterinarian examining dog in office

August is Dental month

dog-and-cat-dental 1

August is dental month at Tasmanian Animal Hospitals.

Dental treatment is important to ensure your pet’s mouth is free of infection and pain. Most pets require a dental procedure every 1-2 years. Our dental procedures include

  • Pre-anaesthetic blood tests for animals over the age of 7 to check their kidneys, liver, blood glucose and proteins.
  • General anaesthetic using the safest agents and monitoring equipment.
  • X-rays of all teeth to look for infection or bone decay underneath the gums. At Tasmanian Animal Hospitals we have special dental x-ray equipment. This means we can pick up decay and cavities, that would otherwise be missed.
  • Ultrasonic scaling to remove calculus from teeth and infection from surrounding gums.
  • Polishing of all teeth to help prevent future build-up of tartar.

Your pet’s teeth, just like human teeth, require a lot of care to prevent disease.  Dental disease is a very common and often neglected problem.  By three years of age, 4 out of 5 of dogs and cats are suffering from painful infections that require veterinary attention.

Dogs and cats usually continue to eat and show no outward signs of pain. It is not until we examine their teeth and gums that we realize there is a problem. If only they could talk!

Some dogs and cats are more prone to disease due to their diet, genetics and/or age.

 The progression of dental disease

Grade 0: Clean, white teeth and healthy gums.teeth-with-staging

Grade 1: Food and bacteria stick to teeth and form plaque (yellow fuzz).  This hardens into a permanent layer of grey tartar, forming a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

Grade 2: Infection forms under the gums causing gingivitis (red, inflamed and painful gums).

Grade 3: Severe infection causes the gums to recede, the tooth ligaments to loosen and the surrounding bone to decay. This is very painful.

Grade 4: The surrounding bone rots and the teeth start to fall out.

Other problems can also occur, such as fractured teeth or tooth root abscesses.


Treatment for mild disease

Treatment is important to ensure your pet’s mouth is free of infection and pain. Most pets require a dental procedure every 1-2 years. This may include:

tooth radiographPre-anaesthetic blood tests to check the kidneys, liver, blood glucose and proteins.

General anaesthetic using the safest agents and monitoring equipment.

X-rays of all teeth to look for infection or bone decay underneath the gums. At Tasmanian Animal Hospitals we have special dental x-ray equipment. This means we can pick up sore teeth that would otherwise be missed.

Ultrasonic scaling to remove tartar from teeth and infection from surrounding gums.

Polishing of all teeth to help prevent future build-up of tartar.

Dental surgery for severe disease

If your pet is suffering from infection of the tooth root or bone decay around the tooth, extractions may be required. The procedure involves:

  • Nerve blocks with local anaesthetic
  • Careful removal of diseased teeth, including roots
  • Gums are closed with absorbable sutures
  • Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication

Dogs and cats cope well with missing teeth and are usually much happier when a sore tooth has been removed!



Prevention only works before disease develops. These methods target the early stages of disease by removing plaque (yellow fuzz).

  • Tooth brushing1pets-dental-care
  • Special diets, eg. Hills T/D.
  • Dental chews, eg. Greenies.
  • Antibacterial water additives, eg Healthy Mouth.

Prevention can help to slow the progression of disease and delay the need for a full dental procedure. It is NOT effective for disease of Grade 2 or higher. Once tartar forms, it is as hard as concrete. Only an ultrasonic scaler can remove tartar and resolve the associated infection and pain.

Don’t forget regular dental checks.

Just like humans, dogs and cats should have a dental check at least every 6 months. At Tasmanian Animal Hospitals, we offer free dental health checks to make it easy to look after your pet’s teeth.

Please call us if you have any questions about your pet’s teeth.


Protecting your cat against Feline AIDS

Protecting your cat against Feline AIDS

cat fight 2



Protecting your cat against Feline AIDS.

Q. What is FIV and Feline AIDS?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) causes serious illness in cats. FIV in cats is very similar to HIV in humans. It damages the cat’s immune system, making them very vulnerable to secondary infections (AIDs). There is no direct treatment for the virus and it is an incurable disease. With supportive care, some cats can cope with the virus for several years, however the disease is usually fatal.

Q. Is my cat at risk?

FIV is most commonly spread by bites and scratches. Any cat that goes outdoors and may come into contact with other cats is at risk. This includes stray cats and your neighbour’s cats. Cats are very territorial and most cats will, at some point in their lives, get a bite or scratch from another cat.

FIV is also spread by mating – another good reason to have your cat desexed!

Q. How can I protect my cat?

Fortunately, there is a vaccine available to protect your cat against FIV. The vaccine is very effective. This is NOT part of the standard core vaccine (F3) that is recommended for all cats to protect against cat flu and parvovirus. It is an optional extra recommended for at-risk cats. We recommend that all cats with access to outdoors should be vaccinated against FIV.

If your cat is not vaccinated, we strongly recommend keeping him or her indoors at all times to prevent contact with other cats.

Vaccine protocols

FIV protection is given with an initial course of 3 vaccines, followed by an annual booster every 12 months. It can be given at the same time as the cat flu (F3) vaccine. Depending on your cat’s age, a blood test may be required before the vaccine course. This is to ensure that your cat is not already infected before starting vaccinations.

Blood test

Initial course



Not required

3 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart


Healthy adult

Antibody test

3 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart


After an injury

Wait 6 weeks before antibody test

3 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart


If overdue by

>3 months

PCR test

Restart the course with

3 vaccines


If you would like further information about FIV

or would like to arrange vaccinations to protect your cat,

please ask one of our vets or nurses.


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