Charity supporting people and pets in need urgently seeking new site in Melbourne

On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 are homeless. Today, 22,773 people are experiencing homelessness in Victoria* Pets in the Park (PITP) has been operating in central Melbourne since 2016, providing free veterinary care for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness. Today, PITP Central Melbourne clinic are seeking a new venue themselves due to demolition and development work. This means they can no longer use their current location and cannot operate until they find a new site. “We knew that this location was always on borrowed time, but it came as a real surprise how quickly it happened and that’s no one’s fault. We are so grateful for the support from Wesley Church who were able to provide this location for two years,” said PITP Director Dr Mark Kelman.  Many people struggling with homelessness lead a difficult and isolated life, particularly those who struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. But for those with pets, their companion animals act as their refuge and give many a reason to live. “For many homeless people, having a pet provides the unconditional love, companionship, emotional support and security that they’re unable to find elsewhere,” said Dr Kelman. However, although pet ownership greatly enriches the quality of life of those who are experiencing homelessness, it can at times come at a significant financial cost and result in the forfeiting of personal welfare. This is where Pets in the Park comes in to help! PITP’s volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses provide free veterinary care at health clinics and quarterly desexing clinics for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness across...

Lets keep Australia Pet Friendly

Proposed changes to rental legislation in Victoria will open up doors for pet owners and the rest of the nation should follow their lead. Australian TV vet and author, Dr Chris Brown is a firm advocate for changing the stigma around pets in rentals and strata. “Australia is a nation of animal lovers, but our pets deserve a place in our homes as well as our hearts! We need a culture change in the way that landlords and strata corporations see our pets – not to ban them by default, but to look at the family and the pet’s individual personality. Pets have such an incredible impact on people’s lives – we can’t lock the renting generation out of the benefits of pet ownership” said Brown. A new nationwide survey conducted by Mars Petcare Australia, has revealed that more than 4.3 million Australians struggle to find a suitable place to live with their pet. The survey shows that more than three million Aussies aren’t able to keep pets on their properties, and nearly half of all Australians do not know how to apply for a pet from their landlord or strata committee. A staggering 54 per cent of apartment dwellers don’t understand Australia’s regulations and laws about pets or where to find useful information to prepare themselves about this topic. 19 million Australians are not allowed a petwhere they live 82% of Australian pet owners say pets improve their quality of life A further 62% of Australians say that the love of a pet provides emotional benefitsand 56% say that their pet provides mental health benefits. 48% of renters, or apartment dwellers, do not know how to apply for a...

Consider your pet’s mental health this Mental Health Week

During this Mental Health Week, the peak body for veterinarians, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is reminding pet owners that like humans, pets can suffer from mental illness and it’s important that we keep a watchful eye on the mental health of not just people, but also their pets. Spokesperson for the AVA and veterinary behaviour specialist, Dr Jacqui Ley, says that psychiatry is part of veterinary science because much like humans, animals too can develop mental health disorders and it’s important to diagnose them and commence treatment as early as possible. “While there is no hard evidence on the rate of mental illness in animals, it’s reasonable to conclude that statistically it’s the same as in humans – that is, one in five suffer from a mental health condition. Given the number of pets that end up in shelters because of a behaviour-related problem, one in five is certainly a reasonable, possibly conservative statistic. “The key is for pet owners to seek veterinary advice if they notice unusual behaviour in their pet. Some dog owners go direct to a trainer for help, but your veterinarian should always be the first port of call. They will then be able to advise on next steps,” she said. In dogs, mental illness commonly manifests in the form of: aggression towards people or animals fears and phobias, for example of thunderstorms compulsion such as tail or shadow chasing cognitive decline in older dogs. Dr Ley says that as dogs age, it’s normal to expect the brain to slow down a bit, but some are developing serious cognitive health conditions such as dementia...

What you need to know about Heartworm Disease

What is Heartworm Disease? Heartworm disease is caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis, a type of roundworm that lives inside the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is a serious disease that primarily affects the heart and lungs but can also affect the liver, kidney, eye, and central nervous system, and if untreated, can cause death. Symptoms The symptoms of heartworm disease are subtle and can be easy to miss. As the number of heartworms increases, the symptoms of coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance, lack of appetite and weight loss become more apparent. However it is best not to wait until symptoms develop since irreversible damage may have already occurred by then. Who is at risk? The incidence of heartworm infection increases in warmer climates.  20% of unprotected dogs may be infected in certain areas of Queensland.  In a recent study, almost 9% of foxes on the outskirts of Sydney were infected with heartworm.  If you do not use a heartworm preventative on your dog then he/she will have roughly a 1 in 10 chance of being infected with heartworm.  All breeds of dogs can become infected.  Long haired breeds are just as susceptible to infection as short haired breeds.  Infection can occur at any age but because it takes a number of years for symptoms to develop the disease is not often diagnosed in dogs 3 to 8 years old.  The disease is seldom diagnosed in dogs less than 1 year of age because the young worms take up to 7 months to mature following establishment of infection in a dog. How...

Lack of consultation leads to continued disappointment

MEDIA RELEASE 1/6/17  Lack of consultation leads to continued disappointment The Pet Industry Association of Australia remains extremely disappointed in the proposed changes and lack of consultation from the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, in regards to the redrafting of the ‘Puppy Farm and Pet Shops Bill’. The Government’s latest releases and interviews approves the Applicable Organisation status for Dogs Victoria while continuing to target open, transparent, legal breeders by imposing an arbitrary limit of 10 breeding dogs. Mark Fraser, CEO of the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) said this is a huge disappointment. ‘The Pet Industry Association of Australia has incredibly high standards for our breeding members, with stringent audits annually. Despite our attempts of contact and being the peak industry body for pets in Australia we have not been consulted to date in the redrafting of the Bill.’ ‘It was clearly shown in the Parliamentary Inquiry that there is no animal welfare evidence for a 10 dog limit, this potentially making the problem of puppy farming worse, not better.’ ‘Imposing a limit completely opposes the recommendation of the Parliamentary Inquiry to abandon the 10 fertile female limit.’ ‘PIAA’s members already have stringent annual veterinary checks in place ensuring that members are following PIAA’s stringent standards and guidelines.’ Mr Fraser said that he would welcome the opportunity to participate in consultations for the final redrafting of the Bill, and how PIAA can help shape and audit exemptions provided to non pure-bred dogs. About the Pet Industry Association of Australia The Pet Industry Association is the only industry association in Australia created to represent all businesses in the...

National Kids & Pets Day – 26 April 2017

Sharing the love  Dogs benefit children in more ways than one Growing up with pets has many benefits for children. Besides the emotional and physical health benefits, companion animals share unconditional love and teach life lessons about empathy, confidence and responsibility. Pets enrich and improve the lives of many children, particularly those with special needs.  Dogs NSW, the controlling body of purebred, pedigreed dog breeding and exhibiting, marks National Kids and Pets Day on April 26th to celebrate the special bond shared between children and their dogs, and remind parents about the importance of safety where dogs and children are concerned. “Dogs are an important part of the family, and it’s important for kids and dogs to learn to be good companions to each other,” said Lyn Brown, Dogs NSW President. Research shows that growing up with a pet can bring social, emotional and educational benefits to children and adolescents, giving them greater self-esteem, less loneliness and enhanced social skills¹. Reading to dogs can also boost reading skills in children and help with emotional and social skill development². Dog therapy in schools Dogs NSW member Lesley Shirley has seen the positive impact of dogs on child development in schools, as a pet educator with the NSW Government’s Responsible Pet Ownership Education Program.  The purpose of the ‘Living Safely With Pets’ program is to educate preschool and primary (K-2) school children and their parents about keeping kids safe around dogs, as well as the responsibilities of pet ownership. “Dogs help support healthy child development. Their non-judgemental, unconditional love and affection can also be very therapeutic for a young person with special...

Scientists develop flu vaccine for dogs

In an important discovery that could lead to improved health in our furry friends, scientists have developed two new vaccines for canine influenza. Today, veterinarians use vaccines that include inactivated or killed flu virus, but experts say they provide short-term, limited protection. In this latest research, published in December’s Journal of Virology, a team led by Luis Martinez-Sobrido, associate professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, created two ‘live-attenuated’ vaccines against H3N8 canine influenza virus, which is currently circulating in dogs in the US. Past research shows that live-attenuated vaccines, made from live flu virus that is dampened down so that it doesn’t cause the flu, provide better immune responses and longer periods of protection. The team used a genetic engineering technique called reserve genetics to create a live vaccine that replicates in the nose, but not in the lungs. The nose is where the virus first enters a dog’s body, so generating an immune response there could stop the virus in its tracks. If the vaccine were to get into the lungs, the concern is it could create unwanted inflammation in response to the live virus. They found the live vaccine was safe and able to induce better immune protection against H3N8 canine influenza virus in mice and dog tracheal cells than a commercially available inactivated vaccine. The team also used reserve genetics to remove a protein called NS1 from H3N8 canine influenza virus. Previous studies have shown that deleting the NS1 viral protein significantly weakens flu viruses so that they elicit an immune response but don’t cause...

Pets at the Pub

Australia has the third highest level of pet dog ownership in the world and, as the puppy love spreads, so has the push to include them in all aspects of life. A new event in Adelaide called Pets at the Pub has been drawing hundreds of dog owners and their pooches to pet-friendly venues around the city.  It brought 300 people to the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on Sunday.  According to RSPCA event organiser Josie Sullivan, the event is not just about unleashing the fun and having a wag. It is also about promoting pet-friendly places in Adelaide and surrounding suburbs.  She hoped the event would encourage the community to include dogs in more public spaces. “In other countries, European countries, dogs are really part of people’s lives and we would love to see that being promoted more in Adelaide and Australia-wide as well,” she said. The charity is not lobbying for more dog-friendly venues but Ms Sullivan said the potential economic benefits had businesses wagging their tails.  “I’ve probably had about 20 to 30 venues approach us about having a Pets at the Pub,” she said.  “I think when people start to see what a beautiful experience it is — to get out there on the weekend with your dog — I think other states will pick it up as well.”  A recent survey on pet ownership by the Australian Institute of Medical Science found a “significant lift” in the number of dog owners who saw their pooches as family.  George Thomson said his dog Archie should not be confined to the dog parks and the backyard...

Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccination?

Cats in Australia are exposed to a number of highly infectious diseases, and outbreaks do occur occasionally around the country. Vaccination is a very important and necessary part of your cat’s preventative health program. Indoor cats are becoming more popular with families who either live in apartments or who want to protect their cat against outdoor related injuries. Do indoor cats need vaccination? Friend of the PIAA, Cat Vet Dr Kim Kendall, The Chatswood Cat Palace explains her views on indoor cats and vaccination protocols. Do indoor cats need vaccination? Dr Kim: Indoor cats need vaccination MORE than outdoor cats because they get less regular exposure to the virus to stimulate ongoing immunity. Both Cat flu viruses and the enteritis virus remain active in the environment and can be transported on your clothes and feet, and cat flu will travel quite a way as airborne particles, so it really does not need direct contact for them to spread. Think of people travelling on airplanes now – nearly everyone will get the sneezes after a long flight! I recommend that cats who are totally indoors, and whose owners never touch other cats, should be vaccinated every two – three years – or just before they go boarding or moving house for the common flu virus diseases.  This is closer to the European view of vaccination than to the American view. However, if there is any question of stressful events intervening in your cat’s life such as boarding and even grooming then consider vaccinating prior to the problem arising. After all, vaccination is the only opportunity to be ahead of a...

7 Pet-Friendly Places To Visit, Stay & Play In & Around Sydney

There continues to be a growing number of pet-friendly accommodations available, not only in Australia, but all around the world. Often when we think of the term “pet-friendly,” we may imagine an outdoor dog park, but there’s also many hotels and restaurants that are welcoming our four-legged friends to join us on our journeys. Consider these places that are located in and around Sydney. Locals and foreigners alike will enjoy visiting or staying at any of these animal-friendly locations: #1 - Sydney Park Let’s start off with one of Australia’s premier recreation areas that also allows pets inside of the beautiful Sydney Park. Not only do they allow dogs, they have their own off-leash area for them to roam and play. With a large children’s play area, 40 hectares of lush, green grass and gardens, the whole family will enjoy this outing, the perfect place for a picnic. #2 - Medusa Boutique Hotel The Medusa Boutique Hotel is mentioned on many popular travel review sites getting an average of almost five stars on Expedia of Australia. Not only do they allow pets into their resort, you can have two of them stay with you at no extra charge. This upscale, modern, yet retro retreat is a scenic stay in Darlington, not far from the iconic, world renowned  performing arts center, the Sydney Opera House and stunning Harbour. #3 - Café Bones Appropriately named, this trademarked coffee shop extremely pet-friendly and is purported to be the the world’s first pet-friendly cafe. You and your canine can enjoy a delicious cup of cappuccino or a “puppaccino” as it’s called here. They welcome...

Your Marketing 2016 Check List

Today you need to have multiple marketing aspects running to have a successful marketing program for your business. The key components are online review/brand management; a website up to today’s standards; search engine optimization, including paid advertising; and social media marketing on more than one platform, with paid advertising. Whew! If it seems like a heap of work– it is. Where to start and what are the “Must Do’s” for 2016? To answer that question the team at Beyond Indigo put together a check list for you to ponder (see link below) Beyond Indigo Pets - 2016 Check List...
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