We chat with Joe the vet about all things pet…

What would a typical day have in store for you?

When dealing with animals there is no such thing as typical. By promoting proactive preventative healthcare, such as routine vaccinations, parasite control and a healthy diet, we try to minimise health problems in our clients’ pets. Unfortunately we still see lots of pets with illnesses and injuries on a daily basis.

What are some common problems you see?

Obesity is a big, big problem. This is where a healthy diet is important. As in people, obesity has potentially serious side effects such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, degenerative joint disease to name but a few. For this reason we provide free nurse clinics for weight management/dietary advice. We also offer hydrotherapy treatment. It can be used as part of the treatment plan for degenerative diseases such as arthritis, but also can be used to treat obesity. Basically, the animal runs on an underwater treadmill. It’s great to see the change in a dog that’s successfully lost weight; they’re happier, more active, they come out of themselves, it basically changes their lives. We see as much obesity in cats as in dogs.

– See our blog on Obesity for more information https://www.petinsure.ie/fat-catsand-fat-dogs-pet-obesity-weighty-problem/

Dental problems are another big issue. On a daily basis we see dogs and cats with dental disease ranging from tartar build-up to tooth root abscesses requiring potentially painful and costly remedial treatment. Poor dental hygiene leads to smelly breath, pain and can in some cases even lead to heart disease. Dental disease is almost entirely preventable which is why we now also provide free nurse dental clinics in which our nurses provide advice on proper diet to prevent dental disease and also demonstrate how to brush your pets teeth properly.

Tip: there are plenty of you-tube videos showing you how to brush your pet’s teeth

What’s new and cutting-edge?

Laparoscopic surgery – commonly referred to as keyhole surgery. We’re one of only a few veterinary hospitals in the country able to provide this service presently. Hopefully it will become more commonplace in the future as it allows us to perform various surgical procedures in a less invasive and therefore safer and less painful manner. We use it for spaying/neutering, intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic surgeries etc. There are many benefits to spaying using keyhole surgery – less time in surgery, less anesthetic, no stitches, far less painful (up to 65% less pain), pet is up and running quicker post-op than with a traditional spay. There is an increased cost associated but we feel that lessening the surgical risk and post-op pain for pets more than compensates for this.

– See our blog on neutering https://www.petinsure.ie/neutering-dog-nasty-nice/

Acupuncture is another treatment we use. We mostly use it as an adjunctive treatment for pain management. This is a recent addition to the services we provide and has proven helpful in providing additional pain relief for some pets occasionally leading to reduced dependence on medication. I would have been sceptical myself about acupuncture for animals before, but now I’ve seen it works well.

Another new type of treatment is hydrotherapy which I’ve mentioned before.

What’s the most unusual pet you’ve treated?

The unusual has become usual – exotics (like snakes, bearded dragons) are becoming more regular, for example. And we routinely treat rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils…

How do you know if your snake is sick?!

Not eating, poor skin condition, not shedding properly, losing weight. Usually the problems with exotics are husbandry issues, for example, incorrect diet or environment. All exotics have quite specific dietary and environmental requirements. These will vary quite dramatically from species to species and even within species e.g. not all snakes have the same dietary requirements, some lizards are aquatic, some are not. People need to research these pets before deciding to take one on and unfortunately this does not always happen.

Do you have to handle a snake to examine it?


Have you ever been bitten?

By a snake, no; by a hamster, yes!

Thank you Joe. We look forward to our live online forum with you. Get all those questions ready people!

You can find Joe via http://www.sunbeamvets.com or on Facebook!