Help! My Dog, Cat Or Rabbit Is Lost

stray dog

‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ Emergency Care

If Your Pet Is Missing In Adelaide

  1. Check your pet’s microchip registration details are up to date
  2. Notify the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League
  3. Ring the nearby local councils and vets
  4. Post a recent picture to the lost pets Facebook pages
  5. Print fliers, post a free Gumtree lost ad and consider a paid Facebook ad

Now dive deeper.

lost dog
Own work by Nikola B Flickr via license

Here is a summary of what you need to do to find a lost dog, lost cat or indeed any missing pet animal species. Just like in missing persons, the sooner you act the greater the chance of success.

If you have had the foresight to get your pet a microchip implant, then there is no reason to panic. When your pet reaches a shelter, someone will scan the chip and as long as the details registered to the chip are accurate, you will be quickly reunited.

We’ve never seen a microchip fail to work unless the pet doesn’t get scanned. That’s called stealing: it’s rare but read one example here.

What To Do If You Lose Your Pet

  • Get out your microchip registration paperwork and check the address and telephone numbers you supplied. If you know or suspect the details are incorrect, contact the database or update them online. It is also a good idea to notify the database that your pet is missing. If you have lost the papers and can’t remember which database, don’t worry. There are several, but they can access all the others. At Walkerville Vet we only use Australian Animal Registry.
  • Contact the local council, and all surrounding councils where it is possible your pet could have strayed. If they have found or will find your pet, you will hear from them quickly. Additionally, if a resident calls them to report a found dog, they may be able to get you directly in touch with the finder. While on the phone, ask your council’s policy on where found animals are taken and for how long they are held (see more re this below)
  • Contact the veterinarians within a logical radius of the site of loss plus the after-hours emergency vets. If your pet has been injured, they will very likely be taken to one of these. Also, many people who find a stray animal go first to the local vet instead of calling the council ranger.
  • Contact the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League to report your loss and enquire about the animals currently being held. Once unidentified pets reach these shelters, they only have 72 hours before being rehomed or euthanased. Very importantly remember that your description may not be the same as theirs regarding age and breed. For this reason it’s a good idea to make a personal inspection visit if there are any dogs or cats who sound even remotely like your pet.
  • Place a post with a recent photo on the Facebook pages Lost Dogs of Adelaide and Lost Pets of South Australia. Place a free ad in Gumtree Pets Lost & Found and the Animal Welfare Lost Pets page.
  • Print a flier with a large picture and distribute it throughout the area where your pet could have strayed. The problem can sometimes be that the person who finds the pet doesn’t notify the appropriate organisations so this will help locally.
  • Facebook ads are really worth considering too. They are cheap and can be accurately targeted to a certain demographic within a set radius around your home.

These days most local councils do not have facilities to hold animals. The majority will send animals directly to the Animal Welfare League. The exceptions are:

  • Campbelltown City Council has its own pound facility where dogs are held for three days before being sent to the AWL.
  • Eastern suburbs councils such as Norwood, Payneham & St Peters send dogs to All Pets Boarding Village. (Mt Osmond) where they stay for four days, before being sent to the AWL.

Many councils either post found animals on their website or keep a list at their reception desk. While these are worth checking, they will not be updated out of hours or on weekends, so checking at the shelters is likely to produce a faster result.

Good Luck. And please make sure once you’ve found your lost pet, you remove the online ads, fliers, and notify the places you rang.

By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These help topics are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. The information provided here is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet. If your pet has has a problem, please seek veterinary attention.

Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours of lodging.

What Causes Bad Breath?

dog dirty teeth

Do you have a friend with ‘cat breath’ or ‘dog breath’? We joke about it, sometimes tell them off for it, perhaps even suspect them of eating something foul.

The truth is that bad breath doesn’t come from the stomach and it isn’t just from the food. Instead it’s often the only sign of a painful dental problem.Thankfully, more and more owners now bring their pets in just because their breath smells bad.

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Myth 21: Tea Tree Oil is good for my dog’s skin

toyah the boxer

This is Toyah’s gift to all dogs with itchy skin. She had mild dermatitis for a while and her owners quite rightly thought a bath would help. They found a nice-looking soothing shampoo with tea tree oil and gave her a good clean. Instead of getting better, her dermatitis got dramatically worse, and three days later when she came to us her skin was looking angry and sore.

Continue reading “Myth 21: Tea Tree Oil is good for my dog’s skin”

Myth 20: My dog is too old for surgery

mia old malamute

We’ve known Mia since she came bounding in to the clinic twelve years ago and started stealing our soft toys.

These days she still has a go but though she’s a puppy at heart, she’s old and has significant arthritis. However, her quality of life is good. A few weeks ago, her owner noticed Mia being a bit unsteady and wondered if it could be the arthritis treatment. We thought that was unlikely and so did a home visit to check on her.

Continue reading “Myth 20: My dog is too old for surgery”

How Micki’s seizures were fixed by a new diet

This is Micki. He’s so happy and active that this is the best photo we could take. But he wasn’t always so perky. Last year he started having seizures and his very concerned owner brought him to us. There was nothing remarkable found on his physical exam, so we took blood for haematology and biochemistry, as we always do when dogs are having seizures.

Continue reading “How Micki’s seizures were fixed by a new diet”

Help! My Dog Has Cataracts

dog lens cataract

‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ Essential Facts

If A Dog Has A Cataract

  1. Don’t panic: most of what are called ‘cataracts’ are part of normal ageing
  2. To check for true cataracts you need to see either a vet or an eye specialist
  3. Senile lenticular sclerosis does not cause blindness and needs no treatment, whereas cataracts require removal to restore vision

Now dive deeper.

Is It A Cataract?

Many owners of older dogs with hazy eyes  get told that their dog has cataracts, and then live in fear of their dogs going blind. The truth is most of these dogs have nothing of the sort.  After reading this, you can be the one to correct the next giver of bad advice.

dog lenticular sclerosis
Not a cataract By Joel Mills (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cataracts do happen in dogs and are probably at least as common as in people. When they occur they are very important, both as common causes ofbindness and signs of other important diseases such as diabetes and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

However, the vast majority of dogs said to have a cataract instead have ‘senile nuclear sclerosis’ (or lenticular sclerosis). This is the condition which proves to me more than any other that we are not supposed to live forever.

What Is Senile or Lenticular Sclerosis?

As we age, our lenses continue to create new layers from the inside of their capsule. This creates an onion-like effect, with older layers moving towards the centre. The problem is that despite the new lens material being produced on the edge, the lens cannot get any bigger. Therefore, the lens becomes more and more dense in its centre, or nucleus.

By about 8 years of age, this dense nucleus starts getting visible, and as the dog ages it reflects more light, giving the dog’s eyes a bluish-grey look as in the picture above.  The trick is that most light still goes straight through as normal and the dog’s sight is hardly affected if at all.

What Does A Cataract look Like?

dog eye cataracts
True cataracts in a dog

It only takes a quick visit for a vet to tell the difference by seeing if the retina is visible (as in nuclear sclerosis) or not (as in the cataracts seen here). You can also see in this picture of mature cataracts how the lens has irregularities and it much whiter than the earlier picture.

If you are concerned by advice from others about your dog’s eyes having cataracts, please don’t lose sleep as it is much more likely that they are wrong. However, do make an appointment with your vet just to be sure. Cataracts eventually cause blindness but can be removed by a vet eye specialist to restore vision. That’s what the pictured dog had after this photo.

What Happens When Dogs Go Blind?

Another myth worth tackling is that a dog going blind is a big problem. Most owners don’t notice their dog’s blindness, and the dogs don’t seem to mind as long as they can sniff their way through the day.

If all this sounds a bit blasé, try to see the world from a dog’s point of view. Unlike humans, vision is probably their third most important sense. If you really feel like messing with your mind, read more here on this concept of ‘umwelt’. It might just change how you see animals!

By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These help topics are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story! The information provided here is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet. If your pet has a problem, please seek veterinary attention.
Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours of lodging.

What’s Wrong With Feeding Stray Cats?

feral cat on street

It all starts innocently enough, An unknown cat starts hanging around the house and looks like she doesn’t have a home. So the householder starts to worry that she’s hungry, and puts out some cat food for her. The next thing she’s hanging around every day and sometimes even coming in the house. Before too long she can always be found somewhere around the yard.

So what’s wrong with this?

Continue reading “What’s Wrong With Feeding Stray Cats?”