December and January were, once upon a time, a quieter period for small animal veterinary clinics. Over the last few years it has become progressively busier to the point where it is hard to distinguish the summer holidays from the rest of the year.


Not that this is a bad thing – it is reassuring as a small animal clinician to see that people are increasingly valuing the health and well being of their animals.


After having had a bit of a rest through the spring, life is now getting busy again for our working dogs. Through the year we see large numbers of working dogs with just about every complaint under the sun. With a good working dog being worth several thousand dollars to replace, it stands to reason that it is worth investing a bit of care in a valuable working partner on the farm. Recent trials done in feeding a premium diet have shown significant improvements in dogs’ stamina and energy levels after very short periods on the new diet. A premium diet consists of a protein-based food rather than a cereal-based food and it isn’t necessary to be a rocket scientist to know which is closest to their “natural” diet. Increased stamina helps to prevent the accidents that happen late in the day when energy levels are flagging – the ones that inevitably cost you dollars to put right and possibly months off work. You wouldn’t put inferior oil in your tractor and expect a top performance, so why expect your dogs to do well on sub-optimal food?


One aspect of being busy over the summer period that we would happily do without is the large number of kittens and unwanted young adult cats that find their way to our doors. This year has been exceptionally busy – but has been distinguished by the hard work and effort that has gone into getting all the cats and kittens rehomed by our team at Clutha Vets, with a special mention for Sharon West. At the time of writing this article we have rehomed 45 kittens and cats from the Clutha Vets Balclutha clinic since the start of December.


This aspect of our work is one that could be eliminated if people took the time and effort to have their cats neutered. A significant number of our rehomed animals have been dumped, either on our doorstep or in people’s environs – Finegand Freezing Works have a constant problem with this. It is disappointing to think that as a society we still have people who think nothing of throwing a pregnant cat or kittens to an uncertain future.


Fortunately for us there is the other side of society that has provided loving homes for all of our cats this year, a big thank-you to those people for taking on the responsibilities of ownership. We also need to thank Hills Pet Foods for generously supplying us with kitten food, and all the people who have contributed to our rehoming and neutering fund, thereby ensuring a happy future for many animals.


Contact the team at Clutha Vets to discuss any animal health concerns you may have.


And if you’re looking for a kitten or cat…


Written by: Suzanne Craig BVCs - Small Animal Vet, based at Balclutha and used in the local newspaper (The Leader) in the monthly Pet Corner section.