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Dermatology 2023

Is your pet suffering from a dermatological condition?

Just like us, our four-legged friends can suffer from skin issues and irritations from time to time. But unlike us, they can’t always communicate their dermatological complaints and tend to suffer in silence as a result. That’s why it’s important for us to look out for the signs.

If your best mate displays any of the common signs below, it’s best to come and see us to get them checked out by the vet. The good news is that skin issues in cats and dogs are generally treatable, so we can get your pet back to doing what they love, without all the itching!

Dermatological Issues for Dogs

The two most common reasons for dermatological issues in dogs are allergies and parasites. Summer and the hotter weather tend to make things a little worse or bring up problems that haven’t presented themselves before.

While we can’t speak doggy (yet), there are some tell-tale behavioural and physical signs that can mean a visit to see us to get it checked out is in order.

If you notice your dog is licking themselves a lot, has itchy spots, stinky ears, is dropping dandruff, has runny, swollen, or itchy eyes, has a funky smell, or is shaking or tilting their head a lot, you should book in a consult with us.

While these symptoms might sound a little nasty, the good news is they are generally treatable, and hopefully in no time your best mate will be doing way more ball catching and way less skin itching.

Speak to your vet about new treatment options in Dermatology

Dermatological Issues for Cats

Just like us humans, our feline friends can suffer from skin issues and irritations from time to time, with many cats having itchy skin, especially around the head, body and belly, caused by a dermatological condition.

The two most common reasons are allergies and parasites, with summer and the hotter weather tending to make things a little worse or bring up problems that haven’t presented themselves before.

While we haven’t unlocked the secret to speaking fluent cat (we’re learning though), there are some behavioural and physical signs that can mean a visit to see us to get it checked out and sorted is in order.

If you notice your cat has bumpy spots, scaly skin, thinning or loss of coat, vomiting hairballs or itchy bits, you should book in a consult with us.

While these symptoms might sound a little nasty, the good news is they are generally treatable, and hopefully, in no time your cat will be doing way more purring and way less itching.

Speak to your vet about new treatment options in Dermatology

Feeding your pet a premium diet can have many benefits for their overall health, including aiding in the management of a dermatological condition. There are specific diets available that are designed to help pets with skin disease, allergies and more.

What are the benefits of premium nutrition for pets?

  • Formulated with the health of the animal in mind
  • Developed by nutritionists, food scientists and veterinarians
  • Made with high-quality ingredients
  • A complete and balanced diet
  • Aligns with pet food industry regulations
  • Made with exceptional quality control
  • Highly digestible

Talk to your vet about premium diet options to help your pet live their best life.

Did you know that over 2 million cats and dogs in Australia and New Zealand suffer from dermatological issues?

Science based nutrition complements and can significantly improve the management of dermatological issues: a small change in the daily routine can have a big impact on a cat or dog’s quality of life.

Royal Canin understand that skin issues are highly prevalent, challenging for patients and concerning for their owners. Thanks to their leading scientifically formulated portfolio of Dermatology diets, nutrition can be a key component of the multi-modal treatment and management of skin disease in dogs and cats.

Know Your Parasites

They pose a threat to our pets, our kids, and even us. While most of them are minuscule and often out of sight, they’re one of the most common risks pet owners have to deal with.

They’re the parasite nasties that sneakily find their way to your pet and cause all kinds of disease. The good news is there are many pet parasite preventatives available that will keep you and your pet safe. Choosing the right protection plan can be confusing but our expert vets can guide you in selecting the most appropriate product for your pet.

It’s very important to know your nasties, and when you suspect they’ve infected your pet to get in touch with one of our experts. We’ve included some information below on the most common parasites to watch out for and some things you might not know about them.

Come into clinic to get a parasite
protection plan today!



Fleas are one of the most problematic parasites for pets, leading to incessant itching, discomfort, and allergic reactions. They can also transmit diseases and carry tapeworms, posing a dual threat. In addition, they can be challenging to diagnose, and a pet with flea allergy dermatitis may never actually be seen with fleas!


There are several types of ticks in Australia, some of which are a nuisance, such as the bush tick, right through to the dangerous Paralysis Tick, which causes many fatalities each year. Paralysis ticks are a common parasite for those living near the eastern seaboard of Australia. It can take as little as one tick bite to result in muscle weakness, respiratory distress and secondary infections.

Heartworm and Intestinal Worms

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms: affect pets’ digestive systems, causing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and anaemia. The most common intestinal worms in Australia are roundworm, tapeworm and hookworm. Normally pets become infected with intestinal worms by ingesting the eggs of the parasites, which can be found in contaminated soil, faeces, and other sources.

Heartworms: are parasites transmitted by mosquitoes that live in the heart of pets and can cause serious damage to their health, and even death. Heartworm prevention is the best way to ensure dogs stay healthy and free from these parasites. Protection is recommended in most areas of Australia, however, Tasmania is considered low risk. Please consult your vet for heartworm protection recommendations for your pet.

Intestinal worms: affect pets’ digestive systems, causing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and anaemia. The most common intestinal worms in Australia are roundworm, tapeworm and hookworm. Normally pets become infected with intestinal worms by ingesting the eggs of the parasites, which can be found in contaminated soil, faeces, and other sources.


Whilst one of our vets can help you diagnose parasites and associated conditions, you’re their first line of defence as you hang out with them every day. Here are some of the key signs your pet might have a parasite infection:

Scratching and Biting: Intense itching, scratching, licking, or biting at the skin, particularly around the tail base in dogs, and the tail base, thighs, abdomen, head and neck in cats, can indicate a flea infestation.

Hair Loss with Irritated Skin: Patchy hair loss or thinning coat along with inflamed or irritated skin could be due to excessive scratching and grooming caused by fleas or mites.

Visible Parasites: You might see ticks on your pet’s skin, or fleas/ flea eggs on their fur, skin, or in their bedding.

Vomiting and Diarrhoea: Parasitic infections, particularly intestinal worms, can lead to digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhoea (which may contain blood), and mucus in the stool.

Bloating: Pets (particularly puppies and kittens) with intestinal worms often have a distended abdomen or pot-belly.

Visible Worms: Worms may be visible in the faeces or around the anal area.

Weight Loss: Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite could be a sign of intestinal worms affecting nutrient absorption or energy metabolism. (Note – there are many other diseases that are more likely to cause weight loss with a normal or increased appetite in adult animals!)

Anal Scooting: Pets might drag their rear end along the ground (scooting) due to irritation caused by tapeworm segments around the anal area.

Sudden paralysis and/or difficulty breathing: Paralysis ticks attach to the skin of pets and inject a toxin into their blood stream that can cause paralysis and respiratory distress. Pets who show these signs need emergency treatment from a vet.

If you see any of these signs or suspect that your cat or dog may have parasites, it’s crucial to come in to see your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Our expert team can help protect your pet.
Come into the clinic today

Anxiety Treatments – look out for Serotonin Syndrome

What is serotonin syndrome?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced by the body. It has a number of effects throughout the body, regulating mood, sleep, body temperature, pain perception, blood vessel constriction, gastrointestinal function, and even blood clotting. An animal with serotonin syndrome experiences excessive effects of serotonin. The overstimulation of serotonin receptors leads to a variety of mental changes, neuromuscular abnormalities, and altered body function, collectively referred to as serotonin syndrome.

What causes the syndrome?

Serotonin syndrome is caused by consuming excessive amounts of serotonergic (serotonin-promoting) drugs. There are several different types of serotonergic drugs; these drugs may be prescribed to pets or humans. Serotonergic drugs include tricyclic antidepressants (such as trazodone and amitriptyline), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (such as fluoxetine and sertraline), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs, such as selegiline), serotonin-releasing agents (human ADHD medications), and serotonin precursors (such as tryptophan). Please discuss medication changes with your vet including the use of so-called natural products.

Dogs typically develop serotonin syndrome from ingesting an excessive amount of their own medication or from ingesting medication that belongs to their owner. If a dog ingests its owner’s serotonergic medication and the dog is already receiving its own serotonergic medication, the effects may be enhanced.

Less commonly, serotonin syndrome occurs when a dog is prescribed two serotonergic drugs simultaneously. This is most likely to occur when your veterinarian is unaware of a serotonergic medication that your dog is receiving, and then prescribes an additional serotonergic medication. For this reason, it is important to always be sure that your veterinarian is aware of any medications that your dog is receiving. If your dog visits multiple veterinarians, ensure that all of your veterinarians have your dog’s full medication list, to prevent drug interactions such as serotonin syndrome.

What are the clinical signs of serotonin syndrome?

The clinical signs of serotonin syndrome may vary, depending on the particular drug that your dog ingested and the quantity that was ingested. Gastrointestinal signs, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and decreased appetite, are common due to the effects of serotonin on the gastrointestinal system. Affected dogs often have an elevated heart rate, muscle tremors, and/or muscle rigidity. They also may appear restless, panting and pacing with an agitated appearance. Alterations in mental state may be observed, such as disorientation or confusion. Severely affected dogs may also have seizures. These signs may occur within as little as one hour after ingesting serotonergic drugs. In cases of ongoing dosing, however, it may take several days to see the cumulative effects of serotonin syndrome.

How is it diagnosed?

Serotonin syndrome is typically diagnosed based on the combination of characteristic clinical signs and known exposure to serotonergic drugs. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam, looking for neuromuscular abnormalities and other signs that may be consistent with serotonin syndrome.

If your dog has signs of serotonin syndrome without a known medication ingestion, your veterinarian may recommend submitting blood or urine to a toxicology laboratory to look for evidence of serotonergic drugs in your dog’s system. It may take several days to receive the results of these tests, however, so your veterinarian will likely begin presumptive treatment while waiting for test results.

How will my veterinarian treat serotonin syndrome?

The treatment of serotonin syndrome depends largely on your dog’s clinical signs. If your dog is experiencing very mild signs, your veterinarian may simply have you discontinue your dog’s medication or decrease the dose. It is important that you only change your dog’s medication under your veterinarian’s guidance, however, because suddenly stopping a serotonergic drug can result in harmful effects for your dog.

If your dog experienced a recent overdose, your veterinarian may first attempt gastrointestinal decontamination. The goal of decontamination is to clear the remaining drugs from your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, to reduce drug absorption and prevent worsening effects. Your veterinarian will first induce vomiting, then give activated charcoal to bind any remaining drug in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. After decontamination, your dog may remain hospitalized for observation and supportive care. Treatments will be administered based on your dog’s clinical signs and may include antinausea medications, antidiarrheals, muscle relaxants, or antiseizure medications. Your dog may remain hospitalized for several days, in order to allow the veterinary team to manage the ongoing effects of serotonin syndrome.

What is the prognosis for serotonin syndrome?

A dog’s prognosis depends on the severity of clinical signs, how quickly treatment is initiated, and overall health. Most dogs that experience mild clinical signs and receive prompt treatment have a good prognosis. These dogs are often fully recovered within 36-48 hours. If your dog is experiencing severe signs or these signs have been untreated for a prolonged period of time, however, the prognosis can be guarded.

Managing Age and Arthritis the natural Way

Arthritis is a condition that literally means inflammation of the joint. The actual causes of arthritis are many, however, in older pets the most common is osteoarthritis. This is a chronically progressive disease that is most commonly caused by a long-term injury or possibly even conformational faults that have been present since birth. Certain diseases can also lead to chronic arthritis. Age is not an actual disease, but dogs that run heavy on their joints throughout life can wear them out early or strain them leading to the problem as they get older. Feel free to fill out our pain quiz to help assess your dog’s discomfort.

Advanced Hip Disease
Normal Hip

Signs of arthritis:

  • Decrease in willingness to exercise
  • Persistent or intermittent lameness
  • Unwillingness to jump 
  • Less grooming (cats)
  • Muscle wastage
  • Joint thickening

Your vet will diagnose arthritis via a range of techniques, including physical examination, x-rays, test therapeutic medication among other things.Once diagnosed typical mainstream treatments involve anti-inflammatory medication that includes pain relief. Human products are not appropriate for dogs. The medications listed below are natural therapies that can reduce or remove dependency on mainstream or “western” medications that while very effective in treatment can have unintended side effects.

Natural Therapies

Disease modifying osteoarthritis drugs (Pentosan polysulfate)

These medications are given as a series of injections: one injection a week for four weeks and the course of 4 injections usually needs to be repeated every 6-12 months. They act to stabilize joint membranes, help joint cartilage repair and improve joint lubrication. They provide significant improvement in a high percentage of arthritis patients with minimal (if any) side effects.

Glucosamine / Green Lipped Mussel / Shark / Bovine Cartilage Supplement

Glucosamine, a naturally occurring compound, is one of the more popular over-the-counter arthritis remedies. It is one of several natural substances, or nutraceuticals, that are known as chondroprotective agents, used in the treatment of arthritis in humans, dogs, horses, and other animals.

Glucosamine joint supplements are said to alleviate the symptoms of joint damage by boosting the repair of damaged cartilage, specifically articular cartilage, or the moist, spongy material that forms a cushion between joints. Joint supplements like Glyde Mobility Chews are often used as an early intervention and throughout the progression of arthritis, as they are safe for long-term use in most patients. Read more here

The best known components of green lipped mussels are Omega-3 fatty acids, including the fatty acids EPA and DHA, explains Petty. “Omega-3s work by reducing the level of inflammation associated with diseases such as osteoarthritis,” Petty says. Although this is the same compound found in fish oil, in the case of green lipped mussels, this is combined with other compounds that also fight joint inflammation and pain.

A good example of these compounds is eicosatetraenoic acid, or ETA. “The ETA is found only in green lipped mussels and binds cyclooxygenase, which is an enzyme that causes inflammation,” according to Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM, a certified and accredited veterinary acupuncturist and food therapist who combines holistic medicine with traditional Western techniques in her practice. “They also contain glucosamine, chondroitin, zinc, and magnesium, which are beneficial for joint metabolism.” Read More Here

You can also read about shark and bovine cartilage supplements here

We stock Glyde at Kalinga park which covers much of these products.

Fish oil

Fish Oil (salmon or menhaden body oil) appears to have antiproliferative activity in some tumor cell lines, antimetastatic activity in laboratory animals, and anti-cachectic activity in human patients.11,12 The benefits for patients with cancer are linked with the ability to attenuate systemic inflammation.13 It is frequently recommended for canine and feline cancer patients at a rate of 1 extra strength capsule (500-600 mg of DHA and EPA) per 5-10kg of body weight.  Preliminary findings suggest fish oil supplementation increases chemotherapy efficacy, improves survival, and helps to maintain weight and muscle mass in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).7,8 An EPA-enriched oral supplement improved tolerability of chemotherapy in patients with advanced colorectal cancer and when combined with chemotherapy, fish oil supplementation may delay tumor progression in patients with colorectal cancer.9 Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have anticoagulant effects, however, results from clinical studies are mixed.

Kalinga Park has a Omega supplement available.


Turmeric has been shown to be anti- angiogenic, induces apoptosis and is anti-inflammatory. The dose
for dogs is one teaspoon per 25kg daily. The dose for cats when they will accept it is 1⁄4 teaspoon twice
daily. It is has been shown to be of more benefit when combined with black pepper and oil (golden
paste). (Credit Steve Denley – Balanced Veterinary Care)

1 cup water, ½ cup organic turmeric powder, ¼ cup coconut oil or bone broth, ½ tablespoon organic ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon Ceylon cinnamon. Simmer turmeric and water over low heat, stirring for 7 to 8 minutes until it forms a paste. Remove from heat and add oil or bone broth, pepper, and cinnamon. Feed 1 teaspoon/20 lb twice daily.


The flowers, leaves and stems of the Cannabis sativa plant have been used in herbal remedies for centuries as well as in more modern culture recreationally and therapeutically. Scientists have identified many biologically active components in cannabis, with the two best-studied components being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (often referred to as THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). Other cannabinoids are being studied for their medicinal and therapeutic effects.

We have access to pharmaceutical graded products both cannabidiol isolates as well as full spectrum low THC products. Ask us about using CBD for arthritis. CBD does have interactions with a number of other medications its important to have a conversation that takes into account all your pets medical treatments

Studies conducted in the 1970s found that dogs have the highest number of THC receptors in their brains, more than any other animal studied, including humans. For this reason, dogs are very sensitive to cannabis products that contain THC, and pet guardians need to be very careful about giving THC to their dogs, so as to not create this adverse neurologic reaction. Very low THC cannabis, also known as “hemp” does not contain enough THC to create these adverse reactions. They are a better bet for pets, due to their increased safety. Some experts believe that THC is important to give along with CBD to address certain difficult to treat conditions such as cancer. With further research we will learn more about whether this is true. Hemp-based CBD extracts have been anecdotally reported to help dogs with epilepsy. For treating cancer, it is still unknown whether CBDs can work effectively as a single therapy without THC or other anti-cancer drugs. At this time, there are no published reports utilizing cannabis for pets with cancer.

Rabies Vaccination and Export

Nobivac Rabies Vaccines

Kalinga Park Vet in Brisbane maintains a large stock of rabies vaccinations that we are authorized to use for animals that are leaving the country. Rabies Vaccines are not widely available as there are expensive to stock.

All animals that receive a rabies vaccination must be microchipped with an ISO-approved microchip. We carry an advanced microchip that also monitors and reports your dog’s body temperature when read with an appropriate reader.

Biotherm Microchip

Give us a call or book online if your pet is traveling and needs a rabies vaccine. In general, you want to make sure that your pet has the vaccine at least 30 days before they are due to travel.

Kalinga Park can also perform Rabies Titre testing that can be required for certain countries or if a pet is potentially returning to Australia at a later date.

We provide 2 copies of the internationaly recognized rabies vaccination certificate. We just ask you to give us accurate contact information prior to your appointment to avoid errors on these certificates.

We are also qualified to administer Rabies vaccines to pets that have potential ABLV exposure. These pets also need to be microchipped.

Expert advice for Pet Obesity & weight loss

Obesity is one of the most common nutritional disorders seen in both cats and dogs. Animals that are overweight are predisposed to a range of health problems, including:

  • Diabetes. 
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease).
  • Degenerative joint and orthopedic disease (including arthritis).
  • Joint stress or musculoskeletal pain.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Cancer and tumours.
  • Skin problems.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Reproductive disorders.
  • Decreased quality of life.
  • Shorter life expectancy.
Overweight Pug
Funnily enough we don’t actually get that many overweight pugs at Kalinga…

So, what causes obesity? 

We love our pets a lot, but sometimes we can love them too much. By giving in to those adorable begging eyes and giving them extra treats, we are potentially causing them harm. Overeating and lack of exercise are the leading causes of obesity and ones that we luckily have control over. 

There can also be medical factors that could contribute to your furry friend weight issues; it is therefore important to talk to one of our vets before you embark on your pet’s weight loss journey. 

How do I know if my pet is overweight?

There are a few signs that your pet might be overweight, these can include:

  • Difficulty feeling your pet’s ribs.
  • Little to no waist.
  • A reluctance to exercise. 
  • A waddle to their walk.

Oh no! I think my pet is overweight. What do I do now?

If you have been a client of the clinic you will know that one of the first things we do at each visit it take a weight – its recorded on your pets file.  We can look back at this weight profile and make some informed decisions about whether weight is an issue.

There are also significant medical issues that can directly cause weight gain in dogs. Blood tests to rule out these conditions are an important part of the weight loss journey. Medications may be able to be used to speed up weight loss.

Finally, the staff have experience with a range of specifically tailored diets to help make the weight loss journey easier.

Separation Anxiety -Stress in the Post COVID World.

Separation anxiety is one of the most common, yet most underdiagnosed behavioural problems in dogs. The clinical signs of excessive barking, whining, howling, destruction, self-mutilation, urination and defecation can take a significant toll on both dogs and owners. Luckily, veterinarians now widely understand separation anxiety, and there are treatment options available to manage this condition and improve quality of life.

A dog with chewed up towels and shoes looking sad or embarrassed
The Anxious Dog

Separation anxiety is distress experienced on separation from you as the owner(s).

Anxiety is the “anticipation of future danger or misfortune”

– Dr K Seksel.

As dogs are social animals, it is normal for a puppy to become attached to their litter and then subsequently to the human family that becomes their home. Some dogs do not habituate to being without their owners and can develop significant separation distress. Some dogs may become destructive or vocalise if under stimulated and not provided with opportunities to exercise physically and mentally. However, signs of separation anxiety become apparent when they are linked to the owner(s)’ departures or absences, when they cannot gain access to them and when they cannot habituate to their absences over time. These dogs are anxious and are not “acting out” or trying to spite their owners, they are having a hard time.

Some possible signs of separation anxiety can include:

• A dug-up garden.
• A torn-up house.
• Neighbours reporting loud, repetitive barking, whining or howling.

You may also notice some signs of distress as you prepare to leave the house. Your dog sees cues that you are leaving (like picking up keys, putting on shoes or applying make-up) and begins to        bark, scratch, pant, freeze or show other signs of being distressed.

If you notice any of these signs of separation anxiety, please speak to your veterinarian. Depending on the case they may refer you to a veterinarian with further qualifications in behaviour or a veterinary behaviour specialist.

Part of the treatment plan may include:

• Medication and/or supplements to address the underlying anxiety.
• Encouraging independence using positive reinforcement exercises.
• Structured departures and arrivals which are low-key (calmly speaking to your dog, but not ignoring them completely).
• Offering your dog long-lasting chews, food puzzles and feeding devices for your times away (if they will eat in your absence).
• Continuing a program of physical and mental exercise and stimulation.
• A program of desensitisation and counterconditioning to cues that hint that you may leave the home.

Grass Seeds

Dogs running in grass

Queensland grasses are quite woody in comparison to southern grass types,  as a result, when the whether gets dry after we have had some rain. Grass’s go to “seed” – these seeds are often covered in small spines that allow them to stick to people and pets as they walk in our parks.   Without good preventative care  grass seeds can sneak their way into your pet’s paws, ears, nostrils, or eyes, and can cause some complicated health problems.

The best cure of course in prevention – after each walk hose brush your pet down with a comb to remove loose seeds and burrs.  Then rinse them off with plain old water.  

If grass seeds are not removed and are left untreated, they can cause some irritating issues. These can include:-

  • ear infections
  • abscess formation
  • ruptured eardrums
  • loss of an eye
  • or even an Aural Hematoma.


The most common presentation is an interdigital abscess

Treatment for grass seeds can be extremely complicated and often require an anesthetic.
Prevention is the key! To minimise the risk to your pet, we recommend t
he following;

  • Keep an eye on the length of your grass. Shorter grass is the best way to minimise the risk of grass seeds.
  • Check your pet daily for grass seeds. They could be hiding in their coat, toes, eyes, and ears!
  • Regularly groom your dog.
  • Avoid dry grass areas when taking your dog out.

If you suspect a grass seed might be bothering your pet, it is essential to see a vet as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Call us on (07) 3357 1588. or book online today.