Pet Health

Number of blogs returned: 21 to 22 records of 22

Helping a baby possum

It is a common occurrence for joeys to be brought into the veterinary clinic.  When a baby possum is found alone, most of the time it is because they lost their grip from their mother. Always look around to try to find the baby’s mother. Possums are very territorial and if she is still alive she will most likely remain in the area searching for her baby. Before going near the joey, ensure that the mother is not in sight. If you see the mother, it is best to leave the baby possum where you found it. If you find a dead female possum, check the pouch to ensure there are no joeys inside. If there is a joey attached to the teat, do not pull the joey off as it may damage the joey’s palate, which will eventually kill the joey. It is best to bring the deceased mother, with the joey still inside the pouch, into the veterinary clinic.           

Identifying the Type of Possum:

Ringtail Possum (above photo)

  • Long, thin tail with a white tip
  • Small, rounded ears
  • Brown to black fur
  • Pale fur on belly

Brushtail Possum (below photo)

  • Long, furry black tail with a hairless strip
  • Large, pointed cat like ears
  • Thick grey to brown fur

What to do:

  • Remember where the joey was found
  • It is best to use gloves to pick up the possum
  • Place the baby possum in a dark pouch such as a sock
  • Place the joey inside a small box or carrier with towels to keep the joey secure
  • Do not hold the joey unless necessary
  • Use either body temperature or a hot water bottle to keep the possum warm
  • During transport, ensure the possum is safe
  • Transport to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible

What happens next?

Once the possum is brought to the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will assess the joey, checking for injuries. If injuries are present, the veterinarian may choose to either treat the possum in clinic or transfer the patient to the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital for treatment. If the joey shows no signs of injury, a Wildlife Carer will be called to collect the possum. It is best for the Ringtail joey to be with a Wildlife Carer as they do much better in pairs or small groups. Ringtail joeys are more delicate than Brushtail joeys and require more dedication to care for. It is still best to have the Brushtail joeys in a Wildlife Carers care, as they are more familiar with the requirements the joey needs. Once the joey is at an appropriate age, they will then be released back into the wild. 

Written by Natasha Jones, Veterinary Nurse

​© Copyright 2016. Northgate Veterinary Surgery, Queensland. All rights reserved.

Posted in: Pet Health at 23 October 18

Chocolate toxicity

What happens if my dog eats chocolate?

THE EASTER BUNNY IS COMING!!! HOORAY!!! Who doesn’t love chocolate? Even dogs will eat it any chance they get. However, it is recommended that you do not give chocolate to dogs in any form. Chocolate can be very harmful / poisonous to dogs. Chocolate is made from cocoa, which contains a substance called theobromine that can be poisonous to dogs, resulting in severe illness. The level of toxicity depends on the amount and type of chocolate consumed, as well as the size of the animal. Different types of chocolate contain different concentrations of theobromine. The darker and the more bitter the chocolate: the more theobromine and the more toxic for the animal. For example, high quality dark or cooking chocolate contains more theobromine than milk chocolate. White chocolate contains very little theobromine. 30g of dark cooking chocolate may potentially poison a 20kg dog; yet 225g of milk chocoate would be required to cause problems.        

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may take a number of hours to develop and include:

  • Restlessness
  • Over-excitement/agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Nervousness 
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Increased drinking
  • Increased urination
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Possible Death.

What to do if your dog has or is suspected of consumed chocolate:

  • Take the chocolate away ASAP ( and dont eat it yourself in this instance)
  • Try to figure out an approximate amount of chocolate consumed by your dog
  • Call Northgate Veterinary Surgery for advice and for an appointment as soon as possible
  • The sooner the chocolate is removed from your dog and your dog is stabilised, the better his/her chances of escaping serious problem.

What happens on arrival to the Vet Clinic?

  • The Veterinarian may administer medication to induce vomiting and may also administer activated charcoal to reduce further absorption of chocolate from the gut. 
  • Your dog may require admission into hospital for monitoring and supportive treatments such as intravenous fluid therapy and management of seizures, irregular heart beats or other complications if they occur. 

Written by Natasha Jones, Veterinary Nurse

​© Copyright 2016. Northgate Veterinary Surgery, Queensland. All rights reserved.

Posted in: Pet Health at 23 October 18