Pet Talk: Why is my dog coughing?

Pet Talk: Why is my dog coughing?

Why is my dog coughing?

In my many years of practicing veterinary medicine here in the Vail Valley, I have seen innumerable coughing dogs, at all seasons of the year from many different causes, and some more life threatening than others.

As a pet owner, when should you get concerned when your pet is exhibiting a cough? What signs would you look for and what could this cough represent?

It’s normal for your pets to sniff and get their noses where perhaps they can be exposed to bacteria, viruses or even foreign material such as grass.

But why is your pet coughing now?

There are innumerable reasons for a cough in dogs, but these are the most common.


Kennel cough is a very common reason for the active pet who visits the dog park frequently or is often groomed or boarded in doggy day care where chances of exposure increases. Owners often confuse kennel cough with something caught in a pet’s throat, as the pet will try to cough up something with no success. Because this is highly contagious, your pet should be seen by your veterinarian and depending on the severity, may be treated with cough suppressants and potentially antibiotics for any secondary infections.


Lung problems or pneumonia can also cause a cough. Pets, just like people, can get respiratory disease, which is primarily infectious based. If your pet has an infectious lung disease, the cough will often be “productive,” meaning you will see discharge coming out both the nose and the mouth.


Allergic respiratory disease can also be present in a pet. Pets can have allergies resulting in an asthma-like condition, especially during times of the high allergy season, or after exposure to wildfires, dust and changes in environment. Allergic respiratory disease can be treated with both oral and inhalant medications and managed over time. The cough is often a dry, hacking, cough.


Heart disease in pets can also be represented as a cough because as the heart begins to fail and fluid builds up in the lungs, making it uncomfortable for your pet to breathe. This is common in your older pets, but can be seen in younger pets with congenital heart disease. Often your pet will have a fluid sound when breathing, and the tongue color can become blue as your pet is less oxygenated.


Fungal infections can result in coughing as they can be picked up in the dirt or in the air in various parts of the country, and present themselves later when the owner has returned home.


Heartworm disease is often forgotten when we evaluate pets for a cough, but certainly has become more prevalent in our state in recent years in all ages of pets. Parasites, in addition to heartworm, can travel to the lungs and cause coughing and lead to life-threatening lung disease.

If your pet is coughing, think of the many reasons listed that could be the cause, but certainly see your veterinarian as quickly as possible. Chest x-rays, in addition to base line blood work will likely be performed to ascertain the cause and develop a treatment plan!

This article was written by Sheila Fitzpatrick DVM, owner of the Mountain Animal Hospital Center & Mobile Veterinarian.

Source: Vail Daily



Free-running pack dogs: The latest ‘weapon’ against poaching in SA

Free-running pack dogs: The latest ‘weapon’ against poaching in SA

Earlier this year 10 counter-poaching dogs arrived at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg from Texas.

The dogs reportedly arrived in South Africa about a month ago as they joined the K9 Unit at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) to help stop poaching in SA.

The SAWC was established in 1966 and is about 10km west of the Kruger National Park. It offers conservation education and training, according to Times Live.

The dogs are reportedly a gift from a breeder in Texas and are not defined as ‘house pets’. These dogs are set to be the new game changer in the war against poaching and have already had a considerable impact in this role.

The reason these dogs were brought in from Texas was that they come from a long line of tracking dogs, trained specifically to track human scent.

The dogs are used in law enforcement across the USA and have a very high success rate. They have also been trained to work as a pact to hunt down poachers and hold onto them until rangers arrive.

Dog trainer and handler from Texas, Joe Braman says they use whatever force necessary to stop the suspect from fleeing. He reportedly has 35 years’ experience working with dogs to help wildlife conservation.

“If the guy wants to run then they’re going to grab the clothing and pull the person down until you get there and you can make a lawful arrest.”

Tracker dogs on leashes are often used to counter poaching‚ but pack dogs that are not on leashes are relatively new. Their top speeds can reach around 40km/h over short distances and they can cover 30km in two hours.

“The dogs are mean, man,” Joe continues to say in a short BBC documentary. “I can show you scars all over myself form getting bit by them you know. They sometimes get confused and they bite me so I still love them but they’re a tool. They are not a pet.”

According to the SAWC‘s website, since their deployment within the Greater Kruger system, K9 units have fast become an integral part of South Africa’s counter-poaching operations, playing a role in 80 percent of poacher apprehensions.

Source: The South African



Heartbreaking reason why you shouldn’t leave the room while your pet when is being put down

Heartbreaking reason why you shouldn’t leave the room while your pet when is being put down

Heartbreaking reason why you shouldn’t leave the room while your pet when is being put down

A VET in South Africa has revealed the reason why you should never leave the room when your beloved pet is being put down – and it’s a real tearjerker.

Many owners unable to cope with their much-loved pet facing its final moments choose to leave the room, but this is exactly what you shouldn’t do, according to the Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital in South Africa.

The reason is that when the owner leaves the room the animal spends its final moments frantically looking for its human companion because they “don’t understand why you left them”, the unnamed vet wrote on Facebook.

In the post, the vet wrote: “I beg you DO NOT LEAVE THEM.

“DO not make them transition from life to death in a room full of strangers in a place they don’t like.

“The thing you people need to know that most of you don’t is that THEY SEARCH FOR YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE THEM BEHIND!!!!”

“They search every face in the room for their loved person. They don’t understand why you left them when they are sick, scared, old, or dying from cancer and they need your comfort.”

The vet added that owners should not be a “coward” and do what is best for the pet.

The post, from the self-proclaimed “tired broken-hearted vet” has since gone viral and been shared more than 91,000 times.

Many commentators shared their own experiences of being with their faithful friend in the final moments.

Jennifer Obermeyer wrote: “From someone who has had to say goodbye to a couple of wonderful little dogs, I couldn’t agree more. I stayed and held them and bawled my eyes out, but I would never ever have left them to have their last moment on this earth, with a bunch of strangers, albeit caring ones.”

Jim Dalton said: “This is the single best post I have ever seen on Facebook AND maybe the most important (I only use it for dog related stuff).

“There is NO EXCUSE and I don’t CARE if you find it upsetting… be a person… have some decency… THINK!”

Dee Madsen commented: “As much as my heart was being torn to shreds, I held the bodies and cradled the heads of each and every dog we had to put to sleep.

“It was our obligation to those dogs to see them to the end as a final act of love. We assured them of our love in doing so.

“Their last sensations were ones of security and comfort. Until death do we part is also a vow for pets parents.”

Source: The Sun

First pet food made catering to critically ill dogs and cats

First pet food made catering to critically ill dogs and cats

First pet food made catering to critically ill dogs and cats

Cape Town – A major animal food company announced the launch of its new ICU liquid diet range in South Africa. 

It’s the first intensive care liquid nutrition of its kind in South Africa and meets the nutritional needs of critically ill hospitalised cats and dogs in intensive care.   

Previously, when veterinarians needed to feed patients who were unable to eat or were refusing food, they had to emulsify a wet food product in hopes of getting it liquidised enough to travel through a narrow feeding tube. Oftentimes, this process was time consuming, messy, and would result in tube blockages which further delayed the sick pet having its nutritional needs met.
“When critically ill pets need to be fed, no time can be wasted,” said Dr Michelle Harman, Scientific Communications Manager, Royal Canin South Africa. 
“Our ICU liquid diet range makes it much easier for veterinarians to provide pets with the nutrition they desperately need in hospital. A high percentage of critically ill cats and dogs do not receive the correct nutritional support while ill and feeding a liquid diet that provides the necessary nutrients for a sick pet enhances their rate of recovery.”
Not only does the ICU liquid diet range make the feeding process quicker and easier, it also comes in 5 tailor-made formulas to meet the nutritional requirements of the pet, based on the nature of their illness and their medical history. 
Available in 5 variants: Recovery Liquid for cats and dogs, Gastrointestinal Low Fat Liquid for dogs, Renal Liquid for Cats, Renal Liquid for Dogs and Gastrointestinal High Energy Liquid for dogs, Royal Canin has the solution.
“Royal Canin is a brand known for specialised and tailored nutrition for your individual pet’s needs. Our first priority is the health of your pet, and a one-size-fits-all approach is never the best solution,” continued Harman. “The veterinary ICU liquid diet range offers the nutritional answer for critically ill veterinary patients.”
Source: IOL

Pedigree: Unleash Your Dog’s Infectious Joy

Pedigree: Unleash Your Dog’s Infectious Joy

Pedigree: Unleash Your Dog’s Infectious Joy

PEDIGREE® believes every dog deserves a loving home and good nutrition – nutrition that comes in a variety of flavours and textures. Just as you like to change things up in your diet, so does your dog.

“By feeding your dog a mixture of both wet and dry food, you’re giving them a healthy balanced meal. The wet food has a higher moisture content and is less calorie dense, whilst the dry food helps maintain healthy teeth and gums,” says Ashleigh Sanderson, Senior Brand Manager of the Dog Portfolio at PEDIGREE®.

PEDIGREE® Wet Food Pouches are the perfect addition to your dog’s life – so good it’s Lick-alicious. Not only will your dog’s meal be nutritionally sound – it’s also going to taste EXTRA yummy with the addition of a Wet Food Pouch, which is packed full of REAL flavours – like chicken, lamb, beef and vegetables.

“We know that nutrition is essential for a dog’s wellbeing, but it’s also important that the food we give them is moreish and delicious – something that will have them licking their lips for more, which is why our Wet Food Pouches are the perfect addition to feed the good in your dog,” concludes Sanderson.  

Furthermore, PEDIGREE® extends an invitation to all dog owners and their four-legged friends to Walkhaven, Johannesburg on 16 September 2018, from 10am to 2pm, where there will be pouches for your pet to sample. Join us for a walk in the park and come witness first-hand what a Lick-alicious meal is all about!  


How a hug from your dog can drive the blues away

How a hug from your dog can drive the blues away

How a hug from your dog can drive the blues away

Ask any pet parent what the favourite part of their day is and guaranteed it will be getting home to their beloved dog or cat; always happy to see them, always open to love. 

Pet therapy has become a very real phenomenon using this unconditional love to offer those suffering from depression some much-needed healing.

Dr. Guy Fyvie, Hill’s Pet Nutrition nutritional advisor, says: “There’s evidence that pets can reduce stress, anxiety and depression and in some cases even cure it. People with pets are happier, interact more with others and are less likely to visit the doctor.”

Pets have been found to increase their pet parent’s self-esteem and help improve their social skills.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says that pets are increasingly being used to assist patients with mental conditions.

Why? Well, pets have an amazing ability to lift our spirits just by being there and are a great source of companionship. Our pets are also very entertaining – their crazy antics and little quirks often have us in stiches. 

Ever wondered why watching pet videos on YouTube, makes you happy? Our pets help us escape our daily stresses, they make us laugh, which in turn releases those feel-good endorphins. Having a pet makes you feel like you have a purpose. 

Walking, feeding, pampering, brushing and playing with a pet will get you up and moving (if not for you, then because your pet needs your attention and care).

Lucy Breytenbach, Animal Science Behaviour & Welfare Canine Behaviour Practitioner from Honey’s Garden, agrees. “Any dog with a sensitive disposition and who is in tune with a human’s emotions can be trained to be an emotional support dog. 

“Emotional support dogs respond to changes in their pet parent’s emotional state, such as scratching, nail biting, leg shaking or hair pulling. They may be taught to give cuddles on command and provide emotional comfort. These dogs may be trained to provide comfort to many people and be taken to retirement homes, hospice and children’s homes, among other places”

Training of emotional support dogs involves teaching tasks such as notifying their pet parent when someone is approaching or standing behind them and Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT), proven to help lower anxiety. 

The principle behind DPT is to have the dog apply gentle pressure to parts of your body. Training also involves using valuable treats and their everyday diet. “We use Hill’s to feed our dogs as it’s nutritious qualities help to ensure a long, healthy life, which is what we need from our service dogs,” says Breytenbach.

Source: IOL

Also read: The Wonder of Service Dogs

Deadly canine disease spreading through Cape’s streets

Deadly canine disease spreading through Cape's streets

Deadly canine disease spreading through Cape’s streets

Cape Town has been identified as a hot spot for the deadly canine distemper virus, which was first picked up in Knysna and led to 271 dogs being euthanised.

The outbreak happened in one street in Hornlee with 10 cases of infection reported earlier this year. It quickly spread in the months from March to August.

The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS) in Philippi, which encompasses the entire Cape Metro with a focus on the Cape Flats, said it has noticed a “worrying” spike in the number of cases reported.

“We are seeing between 10 and 20 cases per week which is significant.

“The apparent spike in the number of cases may be due to owner ignorance regarding the need to follow a proper vaccination regime.

“Given the number of cases seen the entire Cape Metro can be considered a hot spot,” said AWS spokesperson Allan Perrins.

Perrins said AWS has seen cases where the prognosis is regrettably hopeless and was left with no choice but to euthanise the dog to end its suffering and to prevent new infections.

“In a few instances, we have been able to offer supportive care. Being highly contagious, such cases are managed on an outpatient basis and the owner educated regarding the risk and spread of the virus.

“In domestic dogs, while the acute generalised form of distemper has a high mortality rate, disease duration and severity depends largely on the dog’s age and immune status and virulence of the infecting strain of the virus.”

Perrins said it has placed strict, non-negotiable bio-security protocols to prevent the spread of disease using basic foot-baths to costly sprays.

“Animals in our care, for example, hospital patients, impounded or stray animals and animals up for adoption, are safely isolated and carefully monitored to ensure their health and welfare.

“Their needs are not seen to by the hospital team who work in a high-risk area.

“Our kennels are very responsibly managed, disinfected and fumigated regularly to prevent the spread of disease and as a rule we do not wittingly admit infected animals, so there has not been a need to place our kennels under quarantine.”

Dogs that are not vaccinated and come into any kind of contact with an infected animal carry a particularly high risk of contracting this deadly disease.

Perrins urged pet owners to vaccinate and, in deserving cases where an owner really cannot afford the vaccine, it may vaccinate for free.

Source: IOL

Cape Town’s most pet-friendly residential areas

Cape Town is considered the most pet-friendly city according to Seeff Property group – as it provides an array of options in accommodation for pet owners and their furry best friend.

Seeff Property Group research indicates that millennial first-time buyers and baby boomers looking to downscale in property are seeking pet-friendly properties that can accommodate a cat or small to medium-sized dog.

The youngest and oldest generations are looking for compact accommodation based on their lifestyle and affordability.

Pet ownership are the fastest growing lifestyle trend. Research conducted by the American pet food industry shows that 75% of millennials own a dog and over 50% own cats.

Pets are now seen as valuable family members with “pet parenthood” now part of society, housing needs to accommodate for furry loved ones.

These two generations make up the largest housing demographics and developers will need to cater to this changing lifestyle trend.

For baby boomers, pets become vital companions as they replace children who have left the nest and often, a lost partner, husband or wife. Owning a pet helps combat loneliness and depression.

There is also research that shows that pet ownership fosters greater community spirit.

Cape Town is arguably the most pet-friendly city in the country with many beaches, promenades and dog parks where you can take your dog for a walk.

Many restaurants also accommodate dogs and even offer water bowls. The Radisson RED hotel at the Waterfront is South Africa’s first high-end pet-friendly hotel.

The Damhuis, a popular restaurant in Melkbosstrand,  recently introduced a pet menu. Sought-after kitchen brand, Le Creuset is will introduce a trendy pet range.

While it is easy to accommodate the needs of pet owners on large freehold properties, buyers and tenants need to be more upfront about their needs when it comes to high density, apartment areas.

Pet-friendly apartments available 

Century City 

In the Century City area, for example, you can find pet-friendly accommodation, but only 6 of 19 sectional schemes are suited to this.

“The apartments tend to be small at 78sqm for two beds – meaning they are fine for cats, but perhaps dog owners would be better advised to go for a home in one of the estates,” says Adrian Louw, Seeff sales manager for the area.

The pet-friendly complexes tend to restrict it to one cat or dog with only Villa Italia permitting two cats or dogs. Small caged birds though do not require permission.

Other pet-friendly complexes include The Island Club, Century View Estate and Waterstone Isles Estate.

Louw says that Century City is a fairly pet-friendly neighbourhood as there are green parks and walking paths, although dogs need to be on a leash when outdoors.

Expect to pay around R2.3m for a two-bed apartment and around R3.8m for a three-bed home in an estate.

Sea Point and surrounds

Sea Point and surrounds are also pet-friendly neighbourhoods.

The promenade is wonderful for walking dogs and playing ball with them. There are various parks and some beaches which allow dogs.

Here too, you can find pet-friendly coffee bars and restaurants such as Bootleggers. There are many services that cater for pets such as vets, dog parlours, pet stores and even doggy day-care facilities in the area, say the agents.

When it comes to choosing a flat in Sea Point, it becomes a little more challenging as there are only some that are pet-friendly such as Le Village in Oldfield Road and 23 Arthurs Road in Arthurs Road.

Expect to pay between R3.5m to R4m for a two-bed flat. The agents suggest that buyers always check the sectional scheme rules as most complexes are very particular about this and you generally need to obtain prior permission.

Pet-lovers are best advised to look at garden apartments, estates and new complexes as older apartment blocks are usually not pet-friendly, especially those on the beachfront.

Options include, The Avenues in Fresnaye where you can expect to pay R9.95m for a three-bed home in a secure complex with a communal pool, tennis and squash courts, clubhouse and a gymnasium.

The agents do find that there is a greater need for pet-friendly complexes, especially as many of their buyers are downgrading from large homes (with gardens) in Camps Bay and other Atlantic Seaboard suburbs and want to keep their pets.

Rondebosch, Rosebank and Mowbray 

There are some pet-friendly complexes in the Rondebosch, Rosebank and Mowbray areas, such as Halevery Holt that allow small dogs and cats, Hermitage allows cats only, Green Park allows small dogs and cats and Newlands Court only allows cats.

Most blocks will make a provision for indoor cats, but only a limited number of complexes permit dogs.

There are, however, pet-friendly facilities around the areas such as the Liesbeek Parkway river walkway, the Rondebosch Common especially and Starke Ayres Garden Centre in Rosebank among the facilities for dogs.

The demand for pet-friendly accommodation is such that pet owners are willing to pay a premium although no premium is actually built into the listing prices of such accommodation.

You can expect to pay around R1.5m-R2.5m for apartments in the area.

Wynberg Upper 

Ford King from the Wynberg Upper area says that Oakleigh Manor is freehold and hence a great choice for dog-lovers looking for a security estate.

Here, you can find a cluster home in a secure gated development with only eight units for R4.85m to R5.3m for a spacious four-bed home which is also close to top schools.


Are our pets becoming more human? These trends say ‘yes’

Are our pets becoming more human? These trends say ‘yes’.

The world of pet parenting is changing. Pets are the family we choose and we treat them as such.  

From daycare, hotel stays, clothing and food choices, we are humanising our pets, says South African pet nutrition expert, Hill’s.   

There are six trends that are shaping the human world which underpin the humanisation of our four legged friends.

The quest for balance

Balancing health and well-being with a busy schedule is a perpetual struggle and one that leaves people looking for easy, quick fixes to optimise their self-care. Super foods and nutrient-dense ingredients have gained popularity over the past decade and the trend has filtered into pet nutrition too. 

Peace of mind

Peace of mind about what goes into your body is now worth the extra time and expense – and this trend now plays a role in pet nutrition too. Pet parents look particularly for “no lists” and “free from” claims.  

Pet parents are more aware, more critical and are on the hunt for simple ingredients, transparency and clean labels to reassure them that what their pets eating and feeding is healthy.

Treading lightly

Pet parents want to know where their pets’ food comes from and what impact the foods and ingredients are having on the environment. They want to know that they are making sustainable choices that won’t ultimately negatively affect the earth.

Less is more

Less is more, streamlining, simplification, downsizing – easier is better. Consumers around the world are demanding efficiency and technology is playing an important role.

From materialism to experientialism

It’s not about what you have, but rather what you do. People are spending more on experiences and travel and less on things – and taking our pets along with us is gaining popularity. Dog-friendly hotels and pet centric activities like yappy hour and cat cafes are on the rise.

One size doesn’t fit all

There is a surge of support for companies and brands that treat consumers as individuals and not as stereotypes. Pet parents are becoming less comfortable choosing a breed specific food or a one size fits all food when their pet might be battling with an ailment of sorts that the food doesn’t address.  

Pets are an expression of human identity and brands that understand this, are the ones that will win in the future.

Source: IOL

Dogs get their own menu at this Cape Town restaurant

Dogs get their own menu at this Cape Town restaurant - image1

Dogs get their own menu at this Cape Town restaurant

A Cape Town restaurant has launched a menu specifically designed for dogs which include meatballs, sirloin steak and “blasting biltong” flavoured ice-cream. 

Prices for Doggy chicken cubes at Die Damhuis restaurant in Melkbosstrand start at R54, going up to R60 for Doggy Burgers and R120 for a boneless sirloin steak. 

“Melkbosstrand can most definitely qualify as one of the best dog walking beaches with its broad and long stretch of Van Riebeeckstrand,” says Steven Jooste, COO at Die Damhuis restaurant in Melkbosstrand. 

Dogs get their own menu at this Cape Town restaurant - image2

“What better way to end a walk on the beach [than] with a drink of water or beverage and nice warm meal for dog owners and their fluffs’ alike?” 

Jooste says there has been a steady demand for the dog menu, which was launched in July. The Doggy Boerewors (R60) is the most popular item.  

“To completely relax and unwind [animal owners] like to take their pets along on outings so they don’t feel like bad pet parents for leaving them at home unattended,” Jooste told Business Insider South Africa.

Dogs get their own menu at this Cape Town restaurant - image3

He says the idea for the doggy menu was born after seeing similar concepts in the Netherlands where dogs are welcomed to many restaurants. 

“Seeing as Damhuis has its roots in Dutch history in the Cape, it was a match to follow the model of the country.” 

“It is also that we as animal lovers felt that pet owners deserve freedom of movement to enjoy their day out without worrying if their dog is welcome or not.” 

Jooste says while they welcome animals, they are “still animals and therefore there are rules that apply to the owner”. 

Dogs are only allowed outside the restaurant, have to remain on leashes and disruptive dogs have to be removed from the premises. 

Staff are also not permitted to pet animals unless they’ve received the owner’s consent, and are not allowed to feed the dogs directly – the food for the dogs are delivered to the owner, who will then give it to the dog.  

Jooste says the majority of their clients have welcomed the Doggie menu, but a small group of people had concerns about hygiene. 

“But we cannot find information that supports the fact that pets present health hazards especially considered that they are only allowed outside,” he says. 

Source: Business Insider