Malvern Veterinary Hospital
547 Dandenong Rd
Armadale, Vic, 3143
Phone: 03 9509 7611
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Contents of this newsletter

01  Annual Easter Bunny alert

02  Warning to all our Cat owners

03  Warning for all our Rabbit Owners

04  Cushing's disease case study

05  Rat bait ingestion - what you need to know

06  Top three tips for preventing rat bait toxicity

07  Inspiration: an indoor cat fantasyland

01 Annual Easter Bunny alert

As the Easter Bunny gears up to make his deliveries, it is our job to remind you keep ALL chocolate out of paw's reach.

Our canine friends are specifically designed to seek out any morsel of chocolate - big or small, wrapped or unwrapped!

The problem is, chocolate contains a derivative of caffeine called theobromine and dogs have trouble digesting this ingredient.

Scarily, theobromine ingestion can be fatal in some dogs. 

Watch out for:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Tremors, panting and a racing heart
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Seizures

As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is - but if your dog finds your Easter egg stash, it's best to call us immediately as ANY amount of ANY type of chocolate (white and milk included) can cause a problem.

In most cases, if we are able to make your dog vomit we can prevent any nasty follow on effects. 

Don't forget: sultanas and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs so you'll also need to keep hot cross buns off their menu this Easter. 

If you are worried about your pet this Easter you should ask us for advice. 

02 Warning to all our Cat owners
cute kitten in a pot 2

If you own a cat, please make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.


There has recently been an outbreak of Feline Panleukopaenia Virus (FPV) which has killed dozens of cats and kittens.


Our standard Feline vaccinations (F5) WILL cover your pet for this infection.


What is FPV?

FPV is a largely fatal viral infection that is transmitted via close contact with bodily fluids, faeces and contaminated bedding etc of infected carrier. Kittens are at high risk until their vaccination schedule is complete, however adult cats do require boosters to ensure adequate immunity. 

Signs and symptoms

Loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea (often with blood present) and general depression can all be signs of FPV. If you have any concerns about your cat, see your vet as soon as possible.

03 Warning for all our Rabbit Owners
bunny 3

During the first week of March 2017, a planned national release of an updated rabbit virus started to take place (ongoing) to try to reduce the wild rabbit population. It is recommended that all domestic rabbit owners vaccinate their rabbits with Cylap vaccine (Calicivirus) or ensure their animals’ vaccinations are up-to-date (don’t in the last 12 months).


Because the virus can remain in the environment for an extended period and it can be transmitted on objects and some insects, the following precautions may assist in minimising the risk of infection:

-          Keep your pet rabbit indoors

-          Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits

-          Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials including cages, hutches, bowls etc, with 10% bleach.

-          Limit contact between and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits

-          Decontaminate hands, shoes and clothing after handling other than your own rabbits

-          Control fleas by using a topic product such as Advantage  

-          Control insects (especially flies) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors

-          Remove uneaten food on a daily basis

Please contact us on 9509 7611 with any questions or concerns.

04 Cushing's disease case study

Jimmy is a 9 year old Maltese cross. This boisterous little man was thirstier than normal and had suddenly started to wee in the house. His owners noticed he had a bit of a pot belly but had put this down to Jimmy getting older.

A veterinary examination was just what the doctor ordered and blood and urine testing revealed that Jimmy had an endocrine disorder known as Cushing's disease.

Cushing's is a common endocrine disease seen in dogs. It is slow and progressive and is caused by the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a normal hormone produced by the adrenal gland and is essential for normal body function. However in some animals this gland produces too much cortisol and this can have a serious impact on your pet’s quality of life.

Sometimes Cushing's can be caused by an external source of cortisol, such as the long term administration of cortisone.

Common symptoms of Cushing's disease include:

  • Excessive thirst, appetite and urination
  • Pot belly
  • Skin problems, thin skin and hair loss
  • Heat intolerance and excessive panting
  • Lethargy

Jimmy has now commenced daily medication and requires close and careful monitoring but he is thankfully doing very well.

This is just another reason why we need to perform regular health checks on your pet. If we are able to detect and commence treatment early we can slow the progression of diseases and help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

If you have any concerns about your pet, please call us to arrange a check up. 

05 Rat bait ingestion - what you need to know

The poison used to kill rats and mice interferes with blood clotting. These products are just as toxic to dogs and cats, and alarmingly your pets may even seek these poisons out.

What to do if your pet finds rat bait:

If you know that your pet has eaten rat bait, have them checked a vet as soon as possible. If seen immediately, your pet can be made to vomit which reduces toxin absorption. Sometimes blood tests, or administration of an antidote may be necessary.

If your pet is showing signs of bleeding, they may require supportive care, transfusion of blood products and the antidote.

Clinical signs are usually present anywhere from 1 to 7 days after ingestion (depending on type and amount of poison ingested).

How to know if your pet has eaten rat bait:

  • Your pet may be quiet or lethargic
  • A cough or breathing problems (if they bleed into the lungs)
  • They may collapse
  • Sometimes there will be visible signs of bleeding (in urine, nose bleeds)

If you think your pet might have eaten rat bait, please phone us immediately for advice.

06 Top three tips for preventing rat bait toxicity

Sadly, we often see pets that have eaten rat bait. This can be extremely upsetting especially when ingestion can often be prevented. 

Here are our top tips for prevention rat bait toxicity: 

1. The first, and probably most obvious, is do not have rodenticide products on your property. And what about your neighbour's place? If you've moved to a new property, have you thoroughly checked it is safe?

2. Ensure that places you visit with your pet (friend's houses, holiday rentals) are rat bait free. That means always check for rat bait before letting your pet loose in a new environment.

3. If you must have rat bait, please store packets of these poisons in a secure place away from animals and children.

Don't forget that your pet may actively seek out rat bait - dogs have knack for getting under the house and cats love to explore the ceiling.

We are always here to offer advice and help - phone us if you are worried.  

07 Inspiration: an indoor cat fantasyland

Ever wonder if 15 cats could live happily together? This video is proof that they can.

We think this house is pretty amazing and it just goes to show that cats can live harmoniously together if they are provided with the right environment and enough litter trays! We also love that all of these cats have been rescued from a shelter.

This heartwarming story will bring a smile to your face and might even inspire you to do some renovating - check it out!

Burmese cat looking at camera