Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dogs and decibels don't mix

RSPCA NSW is reminding animal owners to keep their pets safe during New Year’s Eve fireworks tonight. Fireworks typically explode at a staggering 145-150 decibels, but to animals such as dogs, who have hearing ten times as sensitive as humans, these explosions can be terrifyingly loud and distressing.

With many animals having a fear of fireworks, they often injure themselves trying to escape the noise. In a frantic bid to flee, dogs often jump or dig under fences and find their way onto busy roads and highways and can be struck by vehicles and fatally injured.

If you can, it’s best to stay home with your pet and provide them with a comfortable environment and engage them in normal activities.  If you won’t be home, make sure your pets are safe, secure and comfortable; bring them indoors, if possible.

Here are RSPCA NSW’s five simple steps to minimise fireworks stress in pets:

  • Ensure your pets are exercised and well-fed before fireworks commence.
  • Keep your animals indoors in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Leave the TV or radio on to mask out the sound of fireworks.
  • Wherever your pet may be, remove any sharp objects that might cause injury to a panicking animal.
  • If your pet is particularly prone to fireworks panic, stay at home with them.

Always make sure your pets are wearing ID tags and their microchip details are up-to-date in case they do flee the noise.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Will you adopt our 3000th animal?

RSPCA NSW’s Sydney Shelter at Yagoona is seeking 25 homes for animals in its care before the end of 2013 to reach a significant 3,000 adoptions for the calendar year.

The person who adopts the 3,000th animal will receive a special 12 month veterinary and care package for their new pet as a way of RSPCA NSW saying thank you for the generosity of the community in helping it reach this milestone. The package includes a veterinary consult at adoption, free six and 12 month health checks and free worming, flea and heartworm prevention for the first 12 months.

“2013 has been a milestone year for RSPCA NSW’s Sydney Shelter in so many ways, so we’d like to see the year out with our 3000th animal finding its new fur-ever home before we ring in the new year and reset the adoption tally for 2014,” said Brendon Neilly, Executive Manager, Animal Care Services, RSPCA NSW.

The holidays are a great time to adopt a new family member with most people taking time off work and kids on school holidays providing the perfect time to bond with your new pet.

Those thinking of adopting are encouraged to visit the RSPCA NSW Sydney Shelter at Yagoona or log on to www.adoptapet.com.au

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Festive foods far from pet friendly

On Christmas eve, RSPCA NSW is reminding pet owners around the state of the perils of festive foods for animals with common Christmas fare among some of the most dangerous for pets to consume.

“Pet owners could find themselves spending Christmas at a veterinary emergency hospital if their animal overindulges in festive foods,” said RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Dr Magdoline Awad.

“Don’t share human food and drinks with your pets at Christmas, as what may not affect you may be toxic to your pet,” Dr Awad added.

Festive foods to avoid feeding your pets:

  • Pork/ham can cause pancreatitis, intense pain and shock.
  • Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhoea  and seizures in dogs.
  • Macadamia nuts can cause severe abdominal pain, increased heart rate and inability to walk.
  • A fruit cake's raisins, currants and grapes are toxic to dogs' kidneys and can make them lethargic, and cause vomiting and increased thirst. Fruit cakes also often contains alcohol which can also be toxic.
  • Alcohol can cause intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing and even coma and/or death in pets.
  • Onions can cause red blood cells to burst, leading to anaemia.
  • Avocado can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and heart congestion in dogs.
  • Coffee can be fatal to dogs, causing vomiting and seizures.
  • Paracetamol can be fatal to pets, especially cats. 
  • Xylitol, a common ingredient in sugarless gum, is poisonous to dogs and can cause weakness, lethargy, vomiting, seizures and liver failure.

Handbags can be a big danger for pets as many contain sugarless gum, pain medication and antidepressants. 

All recreational drugs should also be kept out of reach of pets.

You can purchase a variety of pet-friendly food and Christmas treats including festive biscuits at RSPCA NSW partner organisation Petbarn.

Monday, December 23, 2013

ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES: Bulldog breeder sentenced to 400 hours community service after three-year legal battle

A Mt Pritchard man appeared in Ryde Local Court last Thursday to face seven charges of animal cruelty relating to one horse, two cats and 16 Bulldogs in his care. He pleaded guilty to six out of the seven charges and was found guilty of the final charge (for failing to provide veterinary treatment for a horse) and was convicted. He was ordered to serve 400 hours community service, placed on two separate five-year Good Behaviour Bonds and banned from owning more than eight animals for five years.

RSPCA NSW Inspectors attended a property in Mt Pritchard on 24 December 2010 in response to a complaint about the condition of a horse.  In addition to the mare, RSPCA NSW Inspectors found kennels housing British Bulldogs and French Bulldogs.

A veterinarian was called to the property to immediately examine several animals.  The horse, two cats and sixteen Bulldogs were seized and transported by Inspectors for further veterinary treatment.

The dogs suffered a range of conditions including dry eye, cherry eye, glaucoma, ear infections, fly bitten ears, skin problems and overgrown nails.  The cats had matted coats, flea burdens and one had conjunctivitis.  The mare failed to respond to treatment for extreme   starvation, multiple wounds and lameness and was euthanased on humane grounds.

During a recorded interview, the man made admissions that he was the person responsible for the care of the animals.

He was convicted of seven charges of animal cruelty: Failure to provide veterinary treatment for a horse (one charge), Failure to provide veterinary treatment for two cats (one charge), Failure to provide reasonable care to prevent an act of cruelty for two cats (one charge), Failure to provide veterinary treatment for 16 Bulldogs (two charges), Failure to provide reasonable care to prevent an act of cruelty for 13 Bulldogs (two charges).

The man was placed on two Section 9 five-year Good Behaviour Bonds and a prohibition order was enforced banning him owning more than eight animals for a period of five years. He was ordered to pay $70,000 in costs and $44,000 in vet/boarding costs.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tips for surviving the Christmas season

Christmas is a time of cheer for humans, but for pets it can mean a change in routine, new and potentially dangerous objects around the house, more visitors entering the house, higher noise levels, not to mention all those great smells wafting from the kitchen.

Many of the things that make Christmas a time of cheer can impact and pose a threat to the health of our pet. Read our tips below to prevent your pet from requiring a visit to the vet these holidays. Additionally, keep an eye on your pet and if it exhibits any abnormal behaviour which could indicate a health problem, take it to the vet immediately.

My pet loves playing with Christmas decorations. How can I decrease the risk of illness or injury?

Christmas trees, decorations such as ribbon and tinsel, and presents all pose a risk to the health of many pets if consumed.
  • Some pets are attracted to sparkly items and will paw them or chew them. Keep an eye on your pet for such behaviour and put any sparkly items well above its reach. Things to beware of are flickering tree lights, tinsel, sparkly ribbon or wrapping paper and small and sparkly ornaments.
  • Round ball-like decorations may seem similar to a tennis ball to your dog, however, if broken in the mouth, the shards of plastic or glass can cause lacerations to the tongue and intestines and require surgery. Avoid hanging such ornaments or locate them only towards the top of the tree where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Beware of what you hang on your tree. Edible treats such as candy canes or chocolate may be attractive to your pet and harmful if consumed.
  • Cats in particular love string, and tinsel can seem like a very attractive toy. If dogs or cats eat tinsel it can pose an extreme risk to their health, obstructing the intestines and often creating a surgical emergency. Symptoms may include: decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, listlessness and weight loss.
Can I feed my pet Christmas food scraps?

You should always remember that pets are not humans and have different digestive systems to us. Make sure any food that you give your pet is in keeping with its standard diet.

Christmas is a time of giving, but some of us tend to get carried away when it comes to providing our pets with treats. Many human foods can cause serious illness to our four legged friends, take caution when choosing what treats to give your pet.

Turkey, ham, and all meats
  • Most cooked meats are ok to feed to dogs and cats in small quantities
  • Do not feed your dog or cat cooked bones (they can splinter easily and damage your dog’s throat and intestines).
  • Keep the meat scraps free of gravy and marinades (while we enjoy pepper, chilli, soy sauce and fats, these items may upset your pets stomach).
Chocolate, Lollies and Christmas Pudding
  • Chocolate: The ingestion of chocolate by pets can result in vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity, as well as muscle twitching, increased urination or excessive panting. Chocolate contains a naturally occurring stimulant called theobromine; extreme poisoning can kill your pet.
  • Christmas Pudding: Many pets have intolerances to dairy foods so Christmas pudding is not safe to feed your pet. Grapes and raisins can also be toxic to pets; so reach for a pet-food treat instead.
  • Lollies: and sugar-free sweet products can contain Xylitol which is highly toxic to pets. Just a small amount can cause lethargy, loss of balance, permanent brain damage, liver failure and death.
If you want to give your pet treats, purchase specially made treats for pets such as gourmet biscuits or check the pet food section of your supermarket.

What else should I be cautious of around the festive season?
  • Christmas Plants and Flowers such as Poinsettias, amaryllis, mistletoe and holly are poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or death
  • Fireworks: Many pets experience distress and anxiety during fireworks displays and as a result try to escape. Events such as Carols by Candlelight and New Years Eve often include a fireworks display, so caution should be taken during this period.
How can I make Christmas safe and comfortable for my pet?
  • After unwrapping the presents, quickly clean up any plastic, ribbons and bows that could strangle or be swallowed by your pet.
  • If you are going out or expecting visitors, exercise your pet before they arrive so that it is restful and happy to nap once the festivities start
  • Let your pet have a quiet spot to itself if you have visitors or the house gets noisy; pets need a rest and some quiet time too or they can become stressed and anxious.
How can I make Christmas special for my pet?

We love our pets, and during Christmas time you may experience the urge to make them feel extra special. Here are some tips on treating your pet in a safe and healthy way:
  • Change the way you feed your pet: On Christmas day create a treasure hunt through the house or garden for its regular dry food.
  • Mix its regular food with a treat: small treat food such as mixing dry biscuits with some tinned food
  • Recipes for making edible treats and meals for many varieties of pet are widely available on the internet. Use your common sense to make sure there is nothing in the recipe that might upset your pet’s stomach.
  • Games: Spend extra quality time with your pet by playing games or going for extra walks.
Source: http://www.rspcavic.org/health-and-behaviour/seasonal-health/christmas/

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hot enough for you?

While today may seem pretty warm, the temperature is going to keep climbing over the next few days. Here are our top ten tips to keep your pets cool and comfortable during the coming hot weather:
  • Water — ensure your pets have plenty of fresh water, kept in a cool place. Place an extra bowl out during hot temperatures, in case one gets knocked over
  • Shade — make sure that your pet has access to some form of shade, for example a veranda or patio if there is no shade in the backyard
  • Tasty treats — freeze some of your pet’s food in a take away container to make a delicious doggie ice-block and leave it to gradually defrost during the day
  • Fight fleas — keep your pet’s flea treatment up to date and for dogs with hairless ear tips (like German Shepherds), apply fly ointment to prevent fly bite
  • Terminate ticks — a particular problem in hot weather, search your pet daily and apply preventative treatments or a tick collar
  • Vaccinations — ensure that your dog is vaccinated, parvovirus is activated in warmer weather
  • Sunscreen — don’t allow white, fair-skinned or pets with pink noses, to sunbake in the yard during the middle of the day. Apply zinc to the noses and ears of pets prone to sunburn
  • Grooming — clip/trim long-haired dogs to keep them cool
  • Chill out — if you have air conditioning, but your dog or cat is usually outside, consider bringing them inside
  • Wait to walk — do not exercise dogs in the middle of the day as this can lead to heat stress. Wait until later in the evening when temperatures drop. After all you wouldn’t go for a run if it was 45 degrees!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No room at the Inn. RSPCA's three wishes this christmas as shelters near capacity

This weekend all RSPCA NSW shelters and Care Centres around the state will reduce the adoption price for ALL animals by 50 percent in an attempt to find new homes for as many animals as possible before Christmas. The reduction is in response to a significant pre-Christmas influx of animals that is already putting a strain on RSPCA NSW resources.

An additional 4,000 animals arrive at RSPCA NSW shelters over the Christmas and New Year period. Many of these animals have been part of the family for years and — through no fault of their own — are surrendered because the owners are going on holidays or no longer want them around.

As a result of this influx, RSPCA NSW has three simple Christmas wishes this year:
  1. Adopt — come in to one our shelters or Care Centres and adopt one of the many animals we have waiting to find their fur-ever homes before Christmas
  2. Donate — visit http://rspcaguardianangel.com.au and make a donation to the RSPCA’s annual Christmas appeal. You can also make a donation on someone else’s behalf
  3. Fosterbecome an RSPCA NSW foster carer and temporarily take care of some of our youngest and most vulnerable animals until they are old enough to find new homes
RSPCA NSW is already experiencing a significant increase in the amount of kittens being brought into shelters with the onset of cat breeding season due to the warmer weather and urgently needs additional foster carers.

“Along with the increase in surrenders that happen over this period, we are currently also in the middle of cat breeding season, which causes even more strain on our busy shelters,” said Brendon Neilly, Executive Manager, Animal Care Services, RSPCA NSW.

“We have already experienced a 306% jump in incoming kittens between September and October and the numbers continue to rise as the weather gets warmer,” Neilly added.

The 50 percent discount on adoption animals is valid this Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 December 2013 at all RSPCA NSW shelters and Care Centres around the state. To find your nearest shelter or Care Centre visit: http://www.rspcansw.org.au. Animals will also be available for adoption through select Petbarn stores around NSW.

Donations to RSPCA NSW’s Guardian Angel Christmas appeal can be made at: http://rspcaguardianangel.com.au.

To find out more about become an RSPCA NSW foster carer, visit: http://www.rspcansw.org.au/get-involved/become-a-foster-carer.

Animal (onesie) lovers

The Commonwealth Bank’s new vision encourages staff to consider the wellbeing of people and communities, and recently this extended to the animals and wildlife that had been affected by bushfires.

Animal lovers Silvia and Rabia came up with the idea of raising funds through wearing animal onesies for a day, with the bonus being that if the team raised over $500, their Executive Managers had to wear one too. Naturally this was a big driver for them to get as much money as possible!

The event raised $715, and CBA’s subsidiary company, Count Financial, also donated $500 for the cause. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Take-Me-Home Tuesday; Patches, Female, Australian Cattle Dog crossbreed


ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES: 20-year ban for Mt Warrigal woman for aggravated animal cruelty


A Mount Warrigal woman appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Thursday to face one charge of aggravated animal cruelty against a female Staffordshire crossbreed dog in her care. The woman pleaded guilty and was convicted. She was fined and ordered to report to Wollongong Police for fingerprinting and a 20-year prohibition order was imposed.

On Thursday 15 August 2013 an RSPCA NSW Inspector attended a property in Mount Warrigal in response to a complaint about a dog. The Inspector had attended the property on a previous occasion regarding the same dog.

Upon arrival the Inspector observed the dog lying fully stretched out against the rear fence. The dog had a large amount of pus and blood oozing from a lump on the bridge of its nose, between its eyes; that was running down the side of its face into its mouth.

The dog was also in an emaciated body condition, with hair loss and around its rump and thickened skin around its tail and rear legs. As the dog struggled to breathe, fresh pus could be seen purging from the abscess on its face as the dog struggled to exhale air, with a foul putrid smell emanating from the dog.

The dog was immediately seized and taken for veterinary treatment.

On Friday 23 August 2013, the RSPCA NSW Inspector returned to the Mount Warrigal property and interviewed the owner. During the interview the woman stated reluctance to take the dog to a vet as she feared being told it required euthanasia. She also stated that she felt the dog wasn’t suffering and was attending to its wounds herself.

Veterinary records obtained by RSPCA NSW showed that the Mount Warrigal woman had attended for a consult on 9 January 2013 and antibiotics were prescribed for the dog with a re-assessment recommended in seven days. The woman did not return the dog to the veterinary hospital for further treatment.

The dog was humanely euthanased as it was deemed too cruel to keep her alive due to the severity of her medical conditions.

The Mount Warrigal woman was convicted of one charge of aggravated animal cruelty, fined $5,000 and $456 in court fees and placed on a 2-year Good Behavour Bond. The woman was ordered to report to Wollongong Police within seven days for fingerprinting and she was also banned from owning, purchasing, acquiring or caring for any animal for 20 years

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thank you Bayer

In September, Bayer offered us a large quantity of the antibiotic Clavubactin – representing a saving for us of over $40,000. The antibiotic will help ensure the animals we look after receive the best possible medical care and has been distributed to our four veterinary clinics across NSW.

Bayer also supported us during the recent NSW bushfires by donating antibiotics and worming treatments which our staff had on-hand at the evacuation centres.

A big thanks to Bayer and their continued support of our shelters, clinics and animals.

Game of musical chairs goes awry for cow on Appin property!

RSPCA NSW Inspectors responded to a call yesterday regarding a cow on a property in Appin, in Sydney’s South West. On arrival Inspectors found a female cow precariously imprisoned in a plastic patio chair.

The chair was inhibiting the cow’s ability to eat and drink and required immediate removal.

RSPCA NSW Inspectors tranquilised the cow before moving in to delicately remove the piece of furniture from around her neck.

“We’re not sure how the cow came to be imprisoned by the plastic chair, but left unattended she would have become severely dehydrated,” said Aaron Purcell, RSPCA NSW Inspector. “Other members of the herd were also visibly distressed by the cow’s predicament with several of them trying to remove the chair with their noses,” Purcell added.

Check out the GoPro video of the rescue below:


This is the second incident in which RSPCA NSW Inspectors were required to remove an item from the head of a cow. In June 2013, Inspectors had to free a cow from a fibreglass toilet on a property in Bringelly.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to remind residents on, or near rural properties, to take care with the disposal of household items as they can become hazardous to livestock and pets,” Purcell concluded.

The cow is expected to make a full recovery.

ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES: Scottish Terriers left in terrible condition by Inverell woman

An Inverell woman appeared in Inverell Local Court on Friday to face four charges of animal cruelty against two dogs in her care. The woman pleaded guilty and was convicted on all charges, fined and ordered to report to local Police for fingerprinting.

On Wednesday 17 October 2012, RSPCA NSW received a complaint about two Scottish Terrier dogs in a laneway in Inverell. The complainant was so concerned about the welfare of the two dogs that they took them to a local veterinarian for immediate treatment.

On Thursday 18 October, an RSPCA NSW Inspector attended a property adjoining the laneway and spoke with the woman. During this conversation the woman admitted ownership and responsibility of the two dogs.

The Inspector then attended the veterinary clinic where the two dogs were being treated and found them both to be severely dehydrated, emaciated, anaemic, matted and itching with hairless areas all over their bodies due to the dogs chewing their own skin.

The two dogs were temporarily delivered to the Gwydir Park Animal Refuge before the woman surrendered them to RSPCA NSW on Friday 19 October.

The Inverell woman was convicted of four charges of animal cruelty, fined $400 and placed on a 12-month Good Behavour Bond. She was also ordered to report to Inverell Police for fingerprinting and banned from owning more than one dog for a period of five years.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Woolworths, the good dog people


Woolworths distribution centre at Yennora recently donated 33 pallets of Woolworths Select dog chews to us.

As we don’t have the capacity to be able to store such a huge amount of stock, Woolworths has agreed to store the chews, and our neighbour, Masters at Chullora, will collect and distribute the pallets to our Sydney shelter as we need them.

The chews will be used by behavioural team as part of their dog rehabilitation training , by our Inspectors, and distributed to our shelters and branches across the State.

Thanks to Woolworths and Masters, the dogs in our care can look forward to yummy treats!