Cruciate ligament injury in dogs

The cranial cruciate ligament is a tough band of fibrous tissue within the knee joint that attaches the femur to the tibia, and it prevents the tibia moving forward relative to the femur.

In humans, the ligament often snaps due to sudden trauma (rugby and soccer players) but in dogs it is most often a very different scenario. In dogs, the ligament slowly degenerates over time, almost like a fraying rope.  The cause is usually unknown but factors that play a role are genetics, (certain breeds are more susceptible), weight of animal, individual conformation and certain inflammatory conditions and also activity of an animal.

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Forces acting on the knee joint resulting in cruciate ligament injury

Vaccinations and your pets: what, why and how?

Vaccinations and their benefit is something we feel strongly about at Hout Bay Veterinary Hospital. We see animals from all walks of life and it is our opinion that many unfortunate animals may have been saved if they had been vaccinated appropriately. 

Vaccinations schedules for pets and how they are implemented is very much a function of where you live. For example, if you live in a high rise flat in town and your cat never goes out or has no contact with other animals, its vaccination requirements will be very different to a cat living in Hout Bay on the edge of the mountain or an animal that travels to rural areas, like Transkei.

Fleas and your pets, what's biting?

One of the most common causes of itching and scratching in dogs and cats that we see at our practice is as result of flea allergy. Every time a flea bites your pet, it injects a small amount of saliva into the skin. Your pet can develop an allergic reaction to this saliva that manifests as severe itching and scratching, which may last for 2 weeks after the last flea bite. Not all animals develop this allergic reaction and you may thus have a pet with severe flea allergy dermatitis and one without!

Continual scratching leads to formation of ‘hot spots’ (surface/superficial pyoderma) on your animals skin. Dogs typically develop hot spots on the lower rump/tail base area, groin and sometimes on their cheeks. Cats most commonly develop scabbing around their head and neck (it’s called miliary dermatitis). You may also see areas of hair loss/very short hair on their lower rump areas and tail base, the hair on their tummies can also very often be short.

Please take note that you do not have to see fleas on your animals for them to have flea bite allergy. Dogs and cats are very good at catching and chewing fleas. You will be able to see flea dirt, however, this appears as small black grains on the skin of your animal.


Flea dirt on the skin of an animal

Feline Leukaemia Virus in cats (FeLV)

Feline Leukaemia Virus is a viral infection of cats, the disease is extremely common and is distributed world wide. FeLV belongs to the Retrovirus family, which is the same virus family as Feline aids (FIV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). People cannot be infected by FeLV even though it belongs to the same family as the HIV virus. These viruses are very species specific and cross infection is not possible.

The virus occurs in high quantities in saliva and is spread via mutual grooming, shared litter boxes and food bowls. It can also be spread via bite wounds and a queen may transmit it to her kittens. It is therefore common in multi-cat households and in areas with large feral cat populations.

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