Pet Custody Battles

Welcome to our regular blog on all things pets. We love to hear your comments and please let us know what topics you would like covered in the future.

Keep the Porche … I want the Pooch

This week we cover the bemusing topic of pre-nuptual agreements involving pets. In the US (where else!), lawyers have been springing up by the dozens and becoming specialists in the pet field.

A recent study showed that up to 20% of separating couples, draw up formal access agreements involving their pets. We once had a client who as part of her divorce settlement, insisted that a web cam be set up on the site that her dog most like to lie, so she could log-on and see her beloved dog whenever she wanted!

Not only in the US, but a survey in the UK showed that divorces were often as emotionally charged and as expensive as those over custody of children and up to 20% fight after their animals.

The same survey from Co-operative Pet Insurance, said that 1:10 couples describe the pain of losing a pet as more acute than losing their partner.

Some recent high profile divorces saw $24,000 spent over two Labradors and even $2400 spent over a much loved parrot “Gaz”.

So, regardless of your point of view, more and more people are saying …

You get the car … I want the cat!

This post was originally written in 2011

More on the Hendra Virus

Well a short time has passed, and here is the promised continued Hedra virus information.

In May, at the Australian Veterinary Association national conference in Adelaide, an announcement was made that great strides have been made in the development of a vaccine against the potentially fatal Hendra virus. As it is in the development stage, it looks like trials will start in 2012 to find out how long the immunity to the disease will last, and also how much of the vaccine is needed to provide protection. 2013 will hopefully see the launch of a “sub-unit” vaccine that will not only provide protection, but also reduce shedding (ie. passing on) of the infective virus. For the technically-minded, the vaccine will produce antibodies against glycoprotein G, which means it will be a very safe vaccine with no possibility of viral reversion.

Prevention involves reducing exposure to the virus:

  1. Horse feed bins and water troughs need to be covered
  2. If practical, remove horses from paddocks with Flying Foxes
  3. Avoid planting stone fruit trees and other trees that attract Flying Foxes
  4. Practice good hygiene around horses
  5. If at all concerned, call us – as this is an emerging disease, information is being updated all the time.

Next time – we will be looking at the trend of Pre-nuptial agreements involving pets!

This post was originally written in 2011

Hendra Virus

Welcome to the first blog of our brand new website.

Lots of people have been worried and called us about the recent cases of Hendra virus in Queensland and also Northern NSW. So we thought it would be a good idea to briefly cover the main points of the disease, and discuss any potential risks that may present themselves to you as concerned pet owners.

The virus is called “Hendra” because that is the name of the Brisbane suburb where the virus was first seen in 1994. It has only been identified in Australia at this stage. The virus is carried by the flying fox (FF) and causes no apparent problem in this protected species. In fact, it is thought that up to 30% of all FF populations carry the virus. When the FF defecates or urinates over areas where horses are, especially over where they eat, they can pass the virus on when the horse eats infected food or grass.

Horses can develop a vast array of signs when infected, from neurological disease, to coughing and other respiratory signs. Over 30 horses have been infected and of those 70% have died. People become infected when they come into contact with infected fluids such as horse urine or blood, or water droplets from the horse coughing, as was the case with veterinarians infected. Seven people have been infected and four have died.

Recently, an 11 year old Kelpie called “Dusty” became the first canine to be infected with this potentially fatal virus. We don’t know what will happen with the dog, as it is currently showing no clinical signs. All animals on infected properties are routinely tested for the virus.

The good news is, even with our large FF populations, there is currently no reason to suggest that dog owners in the Canberra/Queanbeyan region are at risk from the virus.

In our next blog, we will discuss the vaccine that is being fast-tracked against this disease, and has been given a $6 million funding boost by the Queensland government. We will also cover how to best prevent the disease and other new viruses emerging around the world that are being spread by FF.

We would love to know what you think of the blog, and what other topics you would like covered in future times.

Originally written August 2011