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Dr Mariya Dikshteyn B.V.Sci (Hons)

Phone: 0414 593989

E-mail: info@mobilevetservice.com.au

March: Benji - 6.5 year old Rottweiler.
Benji's owners were concerned as he seemed to grow old very suddenly.  Previously a healthy, active dog, he was suddenly reluctant to go for walks, was not interested in chewing his raw meaty bones and was generally fairly dull and lethargic.  Benji's canine companion had recently passed away and his owners were wondering whether he could be suffering depression as a result. 
I started with a full clinical examination of Benji in order to assess the health of his major organ systems and immediately a few abnormalities became apparent: 
  • Benji's gums were pale which could be an indication of anaemia (low red blood cell numbers) or poor blood circulation due to heart disease.
  • His heart was beating very slowly.
  • Benji was very overweight weighing in at a whopping 65kg! 
  • Benji's skin was flaky with abundant dandruff.
  • There were a few areas of hair-loss in areas of high friction such as around the neck underneath his collar. 
In addition to all these findings, Benji's owners were very surprised at how easily I was able to examine him - because he was previously such a boisterous dog such quiet behaviour was very out of character.
I recommended a comprehensive blood test to further investigate what was causing Benji's illness.  In particular I was interested in his packed cell volume which is a measurement of his circulating red blood cells and his level of thyroid hormone.  Hypothyroidism, a condition which occurs when dogs can no longer produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, could potentially explain all of Benji's clinical signs.  The blood test could also show any abnormalities in Benji's liver and kidney function.
The results were back within 24 hours and clearly showed that Benji was severely hypothyroid! In addition he was anaemic and had a very high cholesterol level both of which can be caused by the low thyroid hormone. 
We immediately started him on thyroid hormone supplementation tablets and results were visible within one week.  It is now six weeks since his diagnosis and not only Benji is now again a playful puppy but he has also lost weigh, his skin is now healthy and his red cells number is normal. 
Although he will need medication for the rest of his life, his life expectancy is that of a normal dog and his quality of life is excellent too.
The only downside that he was not nearly as cooperative when I had to repeat the blood test to check his progress but that is a small price to pay for a happy healthy dog!
Benji being a vicious guard dog!
Just pat me - PLEASE!!!!!
April: "Basil" - 17 year old Russian Blue cross.
I was called to see Basil because he had lost fur on his chin and his chin became red, swollen and very sore to the touch.
The skin of the chin was discharging a lot of dirty looking material which Basil had continually tried to remove as a result ending up with this discharge all over his paws.
When I examined Basil carefully I noticed the following abnormalities in addition to the chin problem described:
  • There were a lot of black specks in Basil's fur around the chin area.  These look like flea dirt but are actually an indication of a skin infection.
  • The lymph nodes underneath Basil's jaw were very swollen, indicating that they were reacting to an infectious or inflammatory process.
These findings are characteristic for a condition known as "Feline Acne" which involves the formation of blackheads on the chin and surrounding areas as a result of sebaceous secretions clogging up the hair follicles.  This then leads to infection and inflammation and can result in hairloss, swelling, itching and pain - as seen in Basil.
Sometimes a predisposing factor can be found and these include plastic food bowls which harbour a lot of bacteria that is deposited onto the cat's skin as the cat eats.
In order to help Basil overcome this severe infection we started him on potent antibiotic therapy and while results were initially slow, he improved drastically over the four weeks of treatment.
Unfortunately the infection relapsed soon after the antibiotic course was completed and despite thorough checks for potential complicating factors such as a fungal or parasitic infection, evidence of these could not be found.
Once again, Basil drastically improved on antibiotics but any attempts to cease treatment resulted in a relapse.
It was then that serious alarm bells started to ring regarding Basil's immune function and we decided to test him for Feline AIDS which is caused by FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).  After a small blood test in the home and a five minute wait we had the result - positive!
As Basil suffers from a progressive destruction of his immune system due to the virus we now understand that we must continue antibiotics in order to help him stay on top of this infection.  We have also added a topical antibacterial wash to keep the area nice and clean.  Currently he is doing very well and we hope that this continues for a long time to come.
Feline AIDS is spread via saliva and the main way in which cats contract the disease is through cat fights if any biting occurs.  This is the reason that we are currently recommending that owners whose cats spend time outdoors consider vaccinating them against this devastating disease. 
On close inspection the redness and hairloss on the chin is visible - but it is already much improved from what it was.
And now with intermittent antibiotic use the skin looks perfect.
What a good boy!

More cases coming soon!