VetHQ Newsletter
News and information for wellcare of our pets

Champagne Breakfast in the Park



December 2013



7 years down and what a year we have had. It feels like we are just starting to hit 4th gear.  We did a training day for the whole team last month and I showed them the fork in the road. This year has been a grunt year where we have devoted time and resources to policy and procedure. As boring as it is we are now set up to exceed my dream.  That dream is to create the best Sub Specialist Veterinary Hospital in the Eastern suburbs.

A mentor of mine has said on numerous occasions to me and many of my colleagues that life is like a Goanna track – it is anything but straight and most of the time you don’t actually know if you are going to turn left or right and you don’t know why you turned that way, but it works out, you end up where you want to be.

My dream is not poles apart from where I started at seven years of age when I first remember wanting to be a vet or at least wanting to work with animals. It all happened after following my first red kelpie around apparently inseparable from her. My parents say they would call the dog to get me to follow. Apparently a kelpie is more obedient then a seven year old.

To do this I need your help to do this. Your feedback is crucial to us becoming the best. When you come in please take the time to fill in the questionaries we have on the front desk or just pass on your comments. Below are a few links for you access our surveys online. The best feedback we get is constructive criticism from you our clients. You can also just send me an email or Elle, Jen and Danijela on reception.  We all come to work every day to help form a bond with you and your pets.

Veterinary Services Feedback:
Quality of care Feedback:
Staff Member of the year 2013:

So 2014, what have we install for you?  Where is the fork in the road or the goanna track going to lead us? My goals are to offer the best service from my entire staff so that you my clients are satisfied and that your pets are healthy.  They now have the tools to do this, and with the education we provide we will get closer to my dream. This year we will be focusing on increasing our preventative medicine programs like gold class and flea compliance. I also want to see another group of your kids do their HSC and achieve greatness, whilst experience my oldest son Zac navigate his first school year. Finally we also plan to undertake a facelift to our back entrance  to conincide with the opening of the new development and car park in Kiaora Lane in the middle of the year.

Happy Holidays to you all and may 2014 bring you only happiness and healthy pets.


Insurance update


As most of you are aware private insurance is available for your pets. With the rising cost of Veterinary Services worldwide and the more that we can do for your pets insurance is as far as we are concerned and highly recommended product.  At Vet HQ we process the claim for you. All you need to do is sign a form at reception and you should receive a payment within 4 weeks from the insurance company. If there is a dispute we will fight that battle for you.

In essence there are two policies that are available in Australia to choose from. There is one policy that is reproduced with many labels including woolworths, RSPCA, and HCF. These and 15 or so other labels are underwritten by one company called Petsure and Hollard insurance backs them. These policy offers an 80% rebate on the vet bill. There other choice is a stand alone company called Pet plan that have many options available including a set excess of $125.00 and total cover.

At Vet HQ we are recommending Pet Plan above all other policies. It appears that Pet Plan offer a more reliable product with respect to claim processing. If you have any concerns please check our website under insurance.

Pictured below is a cruciate ligament surgery valued at $3700.00 that was claimed for and the owner was out of pocket by $125.00.

If you have any questions please email us or call and discuss your pets insurance needs.


Do cats always land on their feet?


It started off as a normal day for Portia, who was sitting by the window watching the world go by when she suddenly fell out of it, dropping two storeys to the ground. It is unclear why she fell – perhaps she saw a bird flying past – but her ripped nails were evidence that she tried to hold on to the windowsill and support herself but was unsuccessful.

When cats fall, majority of the time they will land on their feet. They possess this righting reflex from 7 weeks of age. As they fall, they use their eyes and balance system in their inner ear to work out whether they are upside down or the right way up. They then rotate their head, twist their back and move their legs to position themselves to land correctly on their feet. Their backs are more flexible than most other animals and they do not have collarbones which makes twisting a lot easier for them. Additionally, by spreading their legs out while they fall, they increase their air resistance, slowing them down in the same way a parachute does. On impact, they spread their weight between their four legs which helps to cushion the impact.

Despite their extraordinary ability to land on their feet, cats can still become seriously injured in falls. If cats fall from a very small height they may not have time to right themselves before the landing and can fall on their side or their back. When cats fall from a greater height, they pick up more speed and even if they land on their feet, their legs may not be able to absorb all of the shock. Common injuries from cats falling from a height are face/mouth injuries from their heads hitting the ground, broken arms and legs or internal injuries.

While Portia probably landed on her feet, the force of the impact caused her chin to hit the ground. She was able to balance herself immediately and walk away but she was limping on her front leg and was unable to eat because of a broken tooth and a broken jaw.

We radiographed her front leg and her body which thankfully showed that she had no broken bones in her front leg and no internal injuries. The radiograph of her mandible (lower jaw) did show a fracture but we were able to wire it together and remove her broken canine tooth.

The x-ray of Portia’s lower jaw showing a fracture line marked out by the red arrows

An x-ray of Portia’s jaw showing the wire we placed to hold the jaw together until the bone heals

Portia is expected to make a full recovery. For now she is being fed some yummy, soft food and with time she can go back to her usual dry food diet. In 8 weeks time we will remove the wire from her jaw. Luckily her owner had taken out pet insurance 4 months prior to her accident. The apartment windows will now be kept closed and Portia can go on to enjoy her remaining 8 lives.

Please keep you cats safe at home by ensuring they can’t fall out of windows. If you cat does have a fall please bring them into Vet HQ to ensure they don’t have any serious injuries.

 by Nicky

Sun Sense 


Mummy is an 8 year female neutered domestic medium hair cat who was recently rehomed to a new family. She is all white and has no pigment on her skin at all which means her susceptibility to the dangerous UV sun is high.

After being rehomed, her new owners became concerned about spots that had been on her ears, as they were starting to become irritated and infected. She was brought in to see us and we sampled the lumps – finding that there was definitely a bacterial infection but that there were other types of cells present.

After trialing her on antibiotics (both systemic – into the body; and also topically onto the areas), the lumps had shrunk considerably and we were able to remove one of them to send for analysis at an external lab. The results came through and showed that she had a form of skin cancer.

Mummy went home with pain relief after the initial surgery and an Elizabethan collar to help protect her ears whilst they were healing. However, there was considerable swelling and her recovery progress was not as smooth as we would have hoped. It may have been that some cancer cells were disrupted at the time of the first biopsy and therefore it was causing a local reaction in the ear.

Knowing that we could cure her completely with a more radical surgery, Mummy and her owners said goodbye to her ears – so that we could be sure that there would be no more spread to other areas on her body. Although it is a disfiguring surgery, Mummy has recovered well from this and we hope she proves to live a healthy and happy life.
Remember that if your pet has areas on his or her face which lack pigment (the skin is pink) and the hair is white or there is no hair (top of the nose) – then practicing sun sense makes sense!
  • Avoid the peak UV times of the day – usually from 11am – 3pm (this may be longer in the Summer months). Ideally pure white cats should be kept indoors if possible to avoid melanoma and other forms of skin cancers.
  • Apply zinc to the areas that are of concern
  • Have any lumps or bumps checked as soon as possible so that peace of mind can be achieved
by Tammy



Are you sick of your pet’s bad breath?

We understand that brushing your pet’s teeth isn’t easy (for all parties involved!)

So we now have a hassle-free solution for you.

Healthymouth is a great new product, which just simply add it to your Cat or Dog’s drinking water. This is the only water additive that has the American Veterinary Oral Health Council which has gained this seal of acceptance.  Studies have shown it reduces plaque build up by 74-81%.

Healthymouth works by cleaning the teeth and gums and reducing bacteria and germs in your pets mouth. It has a 100% return policy if your pet doesn’t like it but so far we haven’t had great results.

Come in to VetHQ to get your pet’s teeth checked and discuss starting Healthymouth. If you have any questions speak to me or email me at

Jenna (JJ)
Client Services Veterinary Nurse



When this newsletter went to print we were only up to week 3 of Movember. This year Geoff has grown  facial hair to raise money for Movember – Mens Health.  One of Vet HQ’s clients has been very sick with cancer and together we have attempted to raise some money for further research and trials for mens health. Please follow the links to Movember and donate or jump on Vet HQ facebook site and donate.


Kitten Adoption


We have 11 adorable kittens between 6-7 weeks of age looking for a forever home. Please check out our facebook site or come in to Vet HQ to check them out.


Thunderstorm Phobia


It’s that time of year and the dramatic summer thunderstorms have sent many dogs and cats scurrying for cover.  Some of the more common signs of storm phobia include: trying to escape, destructive behaviour, pacing, panting, vocalising, house soiling and trembling.
A phobia is an exaggerated response to an outside event. They stem from fears. It’s ok to be fearful of snakes, for example, because this may help to save your life and make you more cautious around them. Fear can be a survival instinct. Phobias are an irrational, exaggerated response to things that may or may not cause you any harm. The trigger for a phobia may be quite mild, and in the case of thunderstorm phobia, may start with heavy rain, wind, drop in air pressure or change in light conditions.  
Many dogs and cats with storm phobias also suffer from noise phobias (eg fireworks) and separation anxiety (become anxious when left alone or separated from their owner). The celebrations of New Year and the social outings associated with the Festive season often means that this time of year is fraught with stress for many pets.
What you can do?
  1. Be prepared. Fireworks are often predictable and weather forecasts will often pre- warn of storm activity. If you are able, secure your pet in a safe spot during these events. This may mean getting them used to being in the house, learning to use a “crate” (see relaxation training below).  Available over the internet are products that can mute the sound e.g. sound proof cage covers (Thunderhutt); ear muffs (MuttMuffs). Pull the blinds and provide darkened areas.
  2. Sometimes storms will occur with very little warning and if your pet is anxious and wants to hide somewhere (even if it seems a little strange e.g. behind the toilet or in a cupboard), it is best to let it be. It can create more anxiety if you try and pull them out and make them go somewhere that YOU think is more suitable/ comfortable.
  3. Owners often worry that if they try and soothe or comfort their pet while anxious it will “reward” the fear. It’s not possible to make fear worse by adding something to the experience that makes the pet cope better. So if talking calmly, long smooth strokes, allowing body contact or any other strategy helps the pet to be more settled, it is advisable to continue that intervention.
What are the Treatment Strategies?
  1. Desensitization: this is where we expose the pet to levels of the triggering stimulus that are so low that they fail to create a response eg those pets that are triggered by the sound of the thunder can be exposed to a “Thunderstorm / Fireworks CD recording” at low volume. The volume is gradually increased over time until the pet becomes used to the sound. These CDs are commercially available. 
  2. Counter-conditioning: creates a pleasurable association or pairing of the scary stimulus with something pleasant e.g. food treats. Start with feeding treats or playing with the dog while there are low levels of stimulus occurring e.g. walks in the rain, feeding treats or playing with the ball when it’s windy. The idea is to create a positive association or pairing between the stimulus (rain, wind, storms) and the treat. Once this is established, the intensity of the stimulus should increase (desensitization). The pet should not be punished for fearful behaviour because this will only increase their distress. Only increase the intensity when the pet is comfortable. At no stage during counter conditioning should fear be experienced. The idea is always to have a positive association with the stimulus
  3. Relaxation Techniques: like teaching a pet to sit and shake hands, relaxation training is teaching a pet to be calm and relaxed. As with any training it takes patience, repetition, time and effort. It should be done on a daily basis as part of your human- pet interaction. It is best to do when the pet is already calm and relaxed. Choose a consistent area eg on their bed, you may incorporate music or smells (lavender is a calming essential oil) or pheromones (speak to our staff about DAP or dog appeasement pheromone).  The behaviour should be consistent and predictable. It may involve a relaxing word “CALM” and gentle stroking across the ears. Practice this before it is needed so that it can be drawn upon during times of stress. Just like soldiers do drills to prepare for war, this relaxation technique is a drill for pets that they can draw upon when they feel anxious. It must be practiced and practiced in a calm, normal day to day environment before we try to use it during a thunderstorm. Other techniques are available e.g. thunder -shirts
  4.  Medication: there are many natural (homeopathic and pheromone) therapies for anxiety as well as traditional drug therapy for anxiety situations. Just as mental health issues are becoming more recognised in the field of human medicine, we are also becoming aware that anxiety and phobias are a mental health issue too.
If you are worried about your pet during this noisey thunderstorm/ fireworks season, please come in for a consultation and we may be able to work out a plan that allows your pet to enjoy the Festive season as much as we do!.

 by Caryn
December 2013

Vet HQ
389 New South Head Rd
Double Bay
NSW  2028
P: 02 93261255
F: 93261266
Our Vets:
Dr Geoff Golovsky
Interests: Surgery, Oncology, Talking (as much as you want)
Dr Caryn Wun
Interests: Internal Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging (xray/ultrasound), Behaviour
Dr Tammy Poon
Interests: Surgery, Dermatology, Cardiorespiratory disease
Dr Nicky Goldberg
Interests: Surgery, Dermatology, Dentistry
Dr Ilana Mendels (part time)
Dr Kirsten Hunt (part time)
Our Nurses:
Kate Fahy VN Head Nurse

Jenna JJ Luskey VN
Client Services Nurse

Sonja Marksteiner Senior VN
Louise Hansen VN
Kristina Karlson Trainee VN
Tessa Carroll Trainee VN
Our Animal Attendants:
Ainslee Maher
Marcel Tabuteau
Our Reception Team:
Elle Wright Trainee VN
Jenn Dodd
Danijela Kis
Raphaella Osborne
Our Dog Stylists:
Bianca Bennett Head Stylist
Mariko Shimizu VN and Groomer
Our Vet students:
Jess Steel
Imogen Game
Benji Sofar
Business Manager:
Alyssa Carter
Hospital Hours:
7.30am-7pm Mon-Fri
9am-1pm Sat
10am-1pm Sun
Consultation by appointment
Emergency till 11pm (Mon-Fri)
P: 0434635226
After Hours:
For emergencies after 11pm and on weekends out of hours please contact:
East Side Veterinary Emergency
10 Newcastle Street Rose Bay
P: 1300792802
Or North Shore Vet Specialists
64 Atchison St Crows Nest
P: 94364884
Our Values:
To provide pets with the highest standard of professional and ethical Veterinary care
To offer a complete, balanced and individualised health care service to pets and owners
To provide supportive and clear communication to pet owners
To maintain the highest level of learning and continuous education for staff and clients
Our Purpose:
To provide the highest quality pet care and be an integral link between you and your pet

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