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77 EDWARD ST
CARLTON - NSW 2218
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Nemo and Dory

Nemo and Dory the female guinea pigs were brought to us in April after being abandoned on the side of the road. The poor guinea pigs were in a terrible state, living in a small, dirty cage.

The pair were both suffering from a major mite infestation, causing Dory to chew her back raw, so we swiftly gave them mite treatment. Nemo also had a fungal infection and dandruff, and both guinea pigs had cracked, dry and swollen skin on their feet.

With space and resources low at the Home, we reached out to Porsche from Porsches Rescue to see if she could rehabilitate and rehome Nemo and Dory. 

Porsche took them on with open arms and was quick to get them back in good health. Nemo’s fungal infection and dandruff have cleared up, Dory’s wounds have all healed and her fur is growing out nicely.

Before going up for adoption, Nemo and Dory were placed in quarantine to heal and ensure they weren’t pregnant. Turns out they’re just a bit chunky…

Nemo and Dory are now available for adoption, waiting for the right family to come along. If you’re looking for some calm and placid indoor guinea pigs, you can enquire about adopting the girls here.

Nemo and Dory’s situation highlights how important it is to provide guinea pigs with appropriate living conditions, to avoid stress and vulnerability to all sorts of illness. With the help of Animal Care Manager & Veterinarian Dr Renae Jackson and a few tips from Porsches Rescue, we’ve put together a guide to guinea pig housing and enrichment, feeding, and health and veterinary care.

Housing and Enrichment 

A hutch/cage serves as the basis for guinea pig housing, but they are temporary enclosures only. It is important that guinea pigs are given an opportunity to exercise outside of their hutch/cage for a few hours every day in unfiltered natural sunlight. The hutch/cage needs to be safe and secure and provide protection from the elements and predators. For one guinea pig, the cage should be at least 7.5 square feet. For two guinea pigs, 10.5 square foot is recommended. 

Indoor enclosures should be secure and kept in a sun-free, low traffic area. Keeping them permanently outdoors is not recommended as they get hot in the warmer months. Guinea pigs can tolerate temperatures between 18C – 20C, anything more than 25C can lead to heat stroke. To help keep them cool in the warmer months, you can:

  • house them indoors
  • provide lots of fresh water, ice packs/frozen water bottles, damp towels, frozen ice treats
  • provide tiles inside the hutch/cage, fan or air conditioner, ice/gel packs.  

A hutch/cage needs to be easy to clean so that soiled bedding can be removed daily. As Porsche notes, keeping bedding fresh is important to keep your guinea pigs’ bums dry and clean. The entire hutch should be cleaned at least once or twice a week. Guinea pigs should be given suitable bedding such as hay, straw or shredded paper, which should be changed regularly. 

Porsche adds that surfaces like wire or hard flooring can lead to a condition called bumble foot, a very painful infection of the foot pad.

Naturally, guinea pigs live in groups and in burrows underground either dug by themselves or other animals. It’s a good idea to provide your guinea pig with a similar form of ‘safe’ place, so they can hide in their ‘burrow’ if they feel frightened. A burrow can be simulated in the form of an upturned box or a covered corner of the room. These safe holes help the guinea pig to feel more secure in their environment. Guinea pigs will also love some toys to play with; wooden toys, tunnels and balls can be great! 

Guinea pigs can be trained to use a litter tray or a particular toilet area. Suitable litter material includes hay, straw and some cat litters (avoid clay types). This will have to be changed regularly.

If your guinea pig is having a free play, ensure your home is guinea pig-proofed; they can chew electrical cords and hide well!

Feeding 

It is vital that your guinea pig has adequate nutrition that is high in fibre. Providing a good quality grass hay (timothy or oaten), and fruit and vegetables (one cup per day) will ensure your guinea pig is provided with enough minerals and nutrients. They like capsicum, coriander, kale, cos lettuce and leafy greens. Always check the nutritional content of any pellet/mixes.

Health and Disease Prevention 

While they don’t need regular vaccinations, routine veterinary examinations are a must for guinea pigs. Even if your guinea pig isn’t exhibiting signs of malaise or pain, it’s crucial to take them in for a veterinary examination at least once every 12 months. It’s also important to take your guinea pig to the vet if it’s injured or if anything else seems different in terms of behaviour or health. Some signs that may indicate illness or pain in your guinea pig include:

  • runny discharge of the nose or eyes
  • abnormal bleeding
  • changes in water consumption patterns
  • bloody urine
  • problems breathing
  • diarrhoea
  • rapid weight gain or loss
  • decreased body temperature
  • contact sensitivity
  • lethargy
  • decreased energy
  • irregularities with the skin
  • difficulty walking 
  • swelling.

It is recommended you take your guinea pig to a specialist vet for desexing and microchipping. Desexing reduces aggression, urine spraying and mammary cancers. It will prevent also prevent unwanted pregnancies as guinea pigs can start to breed at 4 weeks old.  

If you intend to keep more than one guinea pig (they are very social animals and love having companions), suitable mixes include:

  • one male and one female (only if they are desexed)
  • two desexed males or females. 

It is not advisable to mix guinea pigs with rabbits as they can bully each other and transfer diseases to each other. You should make an effort to bond your guinea pigs through slow introductions. Further research on this subject will start you off on the right track. 


As with any pet, owning a guinea pig is a commitment of love, energy, time and resources, and that involves everything from regular interaction, veterinary care and beyond. But as any guinea pig owner would know, when you give them the care they need, they pay you back tenfold with their fun, loveable personalities!

Senior Pet Project: Long Road to Recovery

14-year-old Primrose came into the Home in May as skin and bones with patchy fur and a severe live flea infestation. Her skin was irritated all over, so we immediately jumped to action, administering flea prevention to swiftly kill the fleas.

With her skin under control, Primrose then underwent a thorough health check, when we discovered she had a cyst on her lip, impacted anal sacs, matted fur around her back end and major dental disease, with a lot of her teeth already missing.

Treatment went underway, with our vet team emptying her anal sacs, giving her a bath, clipping our her matted fur and running blood tests to check for signs of underlying disease, which fortunately came back negative. The team suspected Primrose’s dental disease was so bad, she may have an infection extending to her jaw bone, so she started on a long course of antibiotics.

While we waited for her antibiotics to kick in, Primrose was placed into a foster home, where she could recover from her procedures and get ready for major dental surgery.

When Primrose came back in for a recheck in June, she was very itchy around her hind end. While she didn’t have any fleas, it appeared she was suffering from flea allergy dermatitis, an allergic reaction to her original flea bites.

The medication continued. Primrose was prescribed a steroid to suppress the inappropriate immune reaction and a new type of antibiotics suited to skin bacteria.

Two weeks later, Primrose was finally ready for her dental surgery. Her diseased teeth were removed, leaving onto one healthy tooth behind.

Primrose healed well and one week later, underwent desexing surgery and a procedure to remove her lip cyst. During the surgery, the team found a cyst on one of Primrose’s ovaries, so both her cysts were sent off to pathology. Luckily, they were both benign.

After over $1,100 worth of treatment, things were finally looking up for Primrose, and she went up for adoption.

Primrose was adopted in June by Elle and has been settling really well in to her forever home. She’s even made friends with her ex-battery hen housemate! Her fur has filled out, she’s gained weight and she has the most endearing gummy smile.

Primrose has gotten really close with her mum and despite only having one tooth, is loving all the new foods she’s been sampling. Elle told us: “She’s the most wonderful girl and I treasure every day that I have with her. I remind her daily that I love her and she simply MUST live forever.”

As Sydney’s only charity pound and community facility, we rely on donations to give senior pets a second chance in life. Donate today to the Senior Pet Project to give pets like Primrose the care and treatment they need to thrive in their twilight years.


ABOUT THE SENIOR PET PROJECT

In its second year, our Senior Pet Project was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

With your support we are looking to raise $50,000 by 30 September to help fund the Senior Pet Project in the months ahead, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.

Senior Pet Project: Crumpet the Foster Fail

Crumpet came to us in April, made weary by his time on the streets. The 10-year-old gentleman had no ID and initially appeared to be suffering arthritis, a cyst on the back of his neck and dental disease.

To get to the bottom of his ailments, we did a blood test and x-rays, finding he had moderate dental disease, an area of resorbed bone in the lower jaw and arthritis of the spine, hips and elbows. Otherwise, he was a healthy cat.

Our vet team were concerned Crumpet’s jaw issue might indicate cancer, so a bone biopsy sample was sent to pathologists. Thankfully, no cancer was found, with his results indicating a bone infection, which was easily treated with antibiotics

Crumpet underwent a major dental procedure, complete with a scale and polish, in addition to cyst removal from his neck.

Crumpet was fortunate to have a wonderful foster carer Alicia, who helped him recover post-surgery, and monitored his arthritis for signs of improvement while on pain relief. Crumpet’s energy improved and his back legs stopped shaking, indicating major improvements in comfort and quality of life.

Meanwhile, Alicia was growing quite fond of Crumpet. She’d fostered several pets before and is normally a dog-person, so thought fostering cats would make it easier to let go. Crumpet proved her wrong!

Crumpet became a ‘foster fail’, meaning he was adopted by his foster carer. We’re told he’s doing really well in his forever home and loves cuddling and spending time with his people. What a wonderful way to retire!

Crumpet now has his very own Instagram, where you can follow his forever home adventures. Check it out @crumpelstiltskin_cat.

As Sydney’s only charity pound and community facility, we rely on donations to give senior pets a second chance in life. Donate today to the Senior Pet Project to give pets like Crumpet the care and treatment they need to thrive in their twilight years.


ABOUT THE SENIOR PET PROJECT

In its second year, our Senior Pet Project was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

With your support we are looking to raise $50,000 by 30 September to help fund the Senior Pet Project in the months ahead, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.

Senior Pet Project: Buckley’s Big Surgeries

Buckley the 13-year-old Chinese Crested Powderpuff came to us looking a bit defeated. He had eye discharge crusted and matted into his fur, his ears were inflamed and full of discharge, his whole body was covered in dermatitis, he had a heart murmur and though his mouth was too painful to inspect, he appeared to have severe dental disease. It was desperate times for sweet Buckley.

Our vet team were very concerned for Buckley’s welfare and on his arrival, cleaned up his eyes and started him on medicated shampoo for his skin. He was so itchy he’d been chewing his hind end red raw, so we gave him a cream to sooth his sores.

Our vet team suspected Buckley’s heart murmur was due to mitral valve degeneration, which is common amongst older, small breed dogs. Buckley was booked in for an ultrasound to investigate further, and ensure it would be okay to anaesthetise him for surgery. This scan was done by a specialist, who found he did indeed have mitral valve disease, however there were no secondary changes to suggest he required medication at this stage. Eventually, this disease can lead to heart failure, but affected dogs can still live a good quality of life for several years after a heart murmur develops.

Buckley’s scans showed it was safe for him to receive anaesthesia, so he underwent surgery for his dental disease, which required multiple tooth extractions. His ears were also flushed and his prostate checked. He was found to have very full anal sacs, and a potential mass on his right sac. After a further investigative surgery, the mass was confirmed and sent to pathology, hoping it was simply a benign tumour. Unfortunately, the pathology results showed Buckley has anal sac adenocarcinoma, a locally invasive cancer, which will only give him six months to one year to live.

Even with mitral valve disease and cancer, with minimal symptoms present, Buckley can now enjoy a comfortable retirement and live up to 14 years old with proper monitoring and treatment. We are currently arranging a forever home where he can receive palliative care and retire in comfort.

Since Buckley arrived he’s had a safe place to rest, relax and receive around-the-clock care. It took a little searching, but we found the perfect foster carer Samantha, who had experience medicating and caring for an older dog, and a home environment where Buckley could be closely monitored.

Samatha tells us Buckley bounced back from his surgeries like a champ, and despite all the stitches in his gums, has a huge appetite. He’s gradually become more relaxed, happy and healthy in her family’s care, and has even been learning some new tricks, like sit and lie down.

Like many of the senior pets in our care, Buckley has required extra veterinary treatment and a prolonged stay at the time, costing us over $1,200. It’s only thanks to our wonderful donors we can afford to give Buckley this second chance at life.

Donate today to the Senior Pet Project to give pets like Buckley the care and treatment they need to thrive in their twilight years.


ABOUT THE SENIOR PET PROJECT

In its second year, our Senior Pet Project was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

With your support we are looking to raise $50,000 by 30 September to help fund the Senior Pet Project in the months ahead, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.

Senior Pet Project: Senior Surrender

Eight-year-old Jellico has done a lot of moving around this past year. His owners had moved and passed him onto family in Armidale, but unfortunately it turned out one of his new humans was very allergic to cats. This didn’t work very well for Jellico as he likes to get up close and personal with his people.

Jellico’s new owners wanted to do the right thing and find a rescue who could put him in a forever home. Unfortunately, at the time, no one could take him in. Jellico’s owners waited several months before finding a local rescue, who was then able to transfer him to us for rehoming when a space opened up at our shelter. We drove to Armidale to collect him.

Jellico was one of the lucky ones – he didn’t require any surgery. He was already desexed and otherwise looked healthy. Because he was an older cat, our vet team checked his blood – and lucky they did. We discovered he had mild anaemia.

The team did a faecal test and started him on a worming treatment to see if parasites were causing his anaemia. Following this treatment, Jellico’s anaemia began to improve, returning to normal levels, and he was finally ready for his forever home.

Jellico is an affectionate, cuddly boy, but as a senior, it took him a little while to find a new family. Luckily, one month after his arrival, a very eager adopter came along and scooped him off his fluffy feet.

As Sydney’s only charity pound and community facility, we rely on donations to give senior pets a second chance in life. Donate today to the Senior Pet Project to give pets like Jellico the care and treatment they need to thrive in their twilight years.


ABOUT THE SENIOR PET PROJECT

In its second year, our Senior Pet Project was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

With your support we are looking to raise $50,000 by 30 September to help fund the Senior Pet Project in the months ahead, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.

Senior Pet Project: Feeble to Forever Home

12-year-old Finbar looked worse for wear when he was brought to the Home by a council ranger in June. He had lumps growing in strange places, sore knees, a loose claw, excess weight and hadn’t seen the dentist in a while. Luckily, he’d come to the right place.

After thorough examinations by our vet team, including x-rays and lab tests, Finbar was found to have osteoarthritis of both knees, a benign testicular tumour, a benign rectum mass, umbilical hernia and mild dental disease. This unpleasant combination of ailments made life very uncomfortable for Finbar, so our vet team quickly got to work to get him ready for the retirement he deserves.

Finbar’s treatment started with dental surgery, claw removal and a weight loss plan. His testicular tumour was removed during his desexing appointment, which should also reduce his hormone levels and resolve the mass in his rectum. Just to make sure it settles though, his wonderful adopter has committed to monitoring the mass.

Finbar seemed to be doing okay with his umbilical hernia, which causes fat to protrude through the muscle wall, but there was still a small risk organs like intestines could herniate as well. This wasn’t a risk we were willing to take, so surgery was performed to repair the hernia and Finbar recovered with ease.

While we discovered Finbar’s joint condition was too advanced for surgery, our vet team determined it can be managed with ongoing anti-inflammatories and joint supplements that allow him to move comfortably. Within days of this treatment being prescribed, his foster carer noted he was very comfortable and was so excited by walks he would jump up and down in anticipation for the lead.

Finbar was really fortunate to have a comfy foster home where he could recover from his procedures, but he wasn’t there for long! Shortly after Finbar was ready for adoption, he was swept up by his new mum Claudia.

Claudia told us he’s fit really well into her home, where he’s a much loved member of the family. He loves being with his humans, who are doing a great job managing his health. He’s still going for vet checks and is continuing on pain medication so he can enjoy his daily walks without any pain. It sounds like he’s doing really well!

As Sydney’s only charity pound and community facility, we rely on donations to give senior pets a second chance in life. Donate today to the Senior Pet Project to give pets like Finbar the care and treatment they need to thrive in their twilight years.


ABOUT THE SENIOR PET PROJECT

In its second year, our Senior Pet Project was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

With your support we are looking to raise $50,000 by 30 September to help fund the Senior Pet Project in the months ahead, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.

Room to Breathe: How We Fixed Up Two Frenchies

Stitch (previously Tilly) the French Bulldog arrived at the Home in May with her sister Lily. Sadly the microchip details were out-of-date, and we were unable to get her and her sister home.

During routine vet checks, we noticed both Stitch and Lily were suffering from brachycephalic airway syndrome, a common condition in French Bulldogs caused by the ’squished’ appearance of their face. This condition causes breathing difficulties and other symptoms such as gagging, choking and regulating.

Stitch also had ear infections, diarrhoea, hemivertebrae (spine deformity) and a screw tail with deep tail fold dermatitis. She wasn’t living a very comfortable life.

Our vet team performed a surgery on both Stitch and Lily to open up their nose and airway as much as possible. Stitch also received an ear flush to resolve his ear infection. Both Frenchies recovered well, and with a few minor checks and procedures, Lily was ready for her forever home, and was adopted shortly after. 

Stitch on the other hand required special surgery for her tail. Screw tail, otherwise known as ingrown tail, is a tail malformation found in certain dog breeds, causing inflammation, infection and pain. It requires very tricky surgery to remove the tail. To reduce the risk of complications, specialist surgeon Dr Newman from Sydney Vet Emergency & Specialists kindly performed the surgery from our Strathfield South clinic.

The surgery was a success and Stitch recovered with the help of some TLC in foster car and a special diet that resolved her diarrhoea. She still has a spine deformity, but so far, it isn’t affecting her quality of life, and her new adopter has committed to keeping an eye on her health. 

Bubbles’ Battle with Cat Flu

Five-week-old Bubbles came to us looking like she’d seen better days. She had a case of cat flu and conjunctivitis, with both eyes swollen and inflamed. Cat flu is a common disease in unvaccinated cats, easily spread from one feline friend to another, so it was important we acted quickly.

We administered antibiotic ointment twice a day for seven days, then sent her into medical foster care with Jill. Jill committed to Bubble’s treatment from day one, continuing with her twice daily ointment. Bubbles wasn’t a happy patient and put up a good fight, but the promise of chicken made it worth it every time. Bubbles’ symptoms came and went, so a few rounds of ointment had to be prescribed, but with persistence, her symptoms cleared.

Things were looking up for Bubbles, which is when the diarrhoea started. We did an analysis of her faeces with a microscope and discovered it contained nasty coccidia parasite eggs. With a special diet of Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d and medicated syrup, her diarrhoea resolved in just over a week. 

During her treatment, Bubbles grew into the most beautiful kitten, much bigger and healthier than when she first arrived. Now that she was feeling better, she’d established a grooming routine which made her fur silky soft. Jill couldn’t help but fall for her furry foster, now foster fail. 

Bubbles is now loving life with Jill in her forever home. Over time, she has become more confident and affectionate and has claimed her favourite spots around the house, including the cupboard on top of Jill’s shoes and the space between the heater and the wall. 

Jill told us: “Despite the unpleasantness of the treatment, we feel like it helped to build trust with her and she’s now learnt to love being picked up, especially in the kitchen so she can see what’s going on. She has a very small meow but she’s using it a lot more now, to say hello or to find out where we are, but she saves her loudest and most persistent meows to ask us to come and play. Soon after we officially adopted her, we went away for a few days so we took her to stay with a friend. Since we’ve been back she seems to be calmer and happier and I think it’s because she knows now that this is her home and we are her people.”

Cat flu is a very common disease amongst cats and kittens, but not all of them have a happy ending like Bubbles. If you own a cat, it’s important to keep their vaccinations up to date, and prevent them from interacting with infected cats. This will significantly reduce their chances of contracting and spreading this highly contagious disease.

Fun fact: an easy way to ensure you’re getting a cat who’s been vaccinated is to adopt, don’t shop!

Old Fractures, New Beginning

When the adorable Winston (previously Seattle) arrived at the Home, he seemed like your usual young cat. He was active and playful and enjoyed a good pat, but during his initial exam, our vet team noticed something very unusual. He was sitting with his legs in a strange position, and seemed uncomfortable being touched around his hips and hind limbs. 

To investigate further, our team organised x-rays to examine Winston’s pelvis. The results showed he had old fractures, including complex fractures of his femurs and multiple fractures of his pelvis. Given the nature of the trauma, we suspect he was hit by a car several months earlier and had been walking around in a great deal of pain. 

To provide Winston with a functional, pain-free outcome, surgery was performed to remove his fractured femoral heads. This resulted in a ‘pseudo-joint’, which should provide Winston with reasonable, comfortable function of his limbs long-term.

Winston recovered from his surgery in the comfort of foster care, and within two weeks, was moving around with no signs of pain. 

Shortly after, on 10 August, he found his forever home!

Senior Pet Project: Sumo Finds Sanctuary

Sumo the senior Bull Terrier was in a sorry state when he came into the Home in June. His coat was patchy and speckled with blotches of inflamed skin, his eyes were cloudy and dry and he walked with a limp.

As you can imagine, our team were very concerned for Sumo’s welfare. Veterinary treatment was immediately organised, and Sumo received antibiotics and eye ointment to start him on his journey of  rehabilitation. 

Our dedicated team located Sumo’s owners, but sadly they did not wish to reclaim this senior gentleman. With his owner’s not coming forward Sumo was transferred into the care of the Home where his transformation continued. 

Our vet team discovered Sumo had a wide array of health problems that required immediate attention. 

He had dry eye and conjunctivitis, in addition to entropion in his right eye, which made his eyes dry and irritated and reduced his vision. He had dermatitis and possible allergic skin disease, causing inflammation of the skin. He also suffered mid dental disease, ear infections and a painful joint condition called chronic cruciate ligament disease and secondary arthritis in both his knees. 

Despite all this, we knew with proper treatment and care, Sumo could go on to enjoy his senior years in comfort.

We fixed up Sumo’s ears with antibiotics and performed dental work to reveal a lovely smile. For his dry eye, we administered antibiotic drops, followed by a topical medication to restore tear production. Surgery was then performed to correct his lower lid entropion and stop the hairs on his eyelid from rubbing against his eye.

With a little bit of antibiotics and medicated shampoo, Sumo’s skin started to heal, but his fur didn’t grow back. We suspect this is due to a previous severe mite infection that permanently damaged his hair follicles. His fur may still be a little patchy, but we still think he’s a handsome man!

Unfortunately, we discovered Sumo’s joint conditions were too severe for surgery, so ongoing pain medication was prescribed. This will allow him to enjoy life without pain.

With Sumo’s health concerns under control, it came time to rehome this unique-looking Bull Terrier. We knew given his big medical history and old age, it would take a while for him to find a foster carer or forever home, and the shelter environment can be a very stressful place. As a result, our animal care team organised to place Sumo into the care of a breed-specific rescue, where he could stay until finding his forever home.

NSW Bull Terrier Rescue took Sumo in with open arms and continued with vet checks and ongoing treatment. He settled in really well, and within five weeks has found a wonderful foster family with a view to adopt! Fingers crossed for Sumo!

Thanks to the generous support of our community and those that donate to the Senior Pet Project, we are able to provide seniors like Sumo, who have often been neglected, with the treatment and care they so justly deserve in their twilight years. If you’d like to contribute, you can donate here.