VetHQ Newsletter
News and information for wellcare of our pets

2016 – Bring on Summer !

Sydneysiders spend their summer complaining about how hot it is and then spend their winter (all 6 weeks of it) complaining about how cold it is. It always amazes me the first cold and wet week we have in Sydney sees a remarkable drop in business because people get scared and go inside and don’t come out for at least a week when they realise actually its not that cold. That happened about a month ago and it is now already warming up to spring. Recently I took the family to the snow and in our case a little rain and a little wind and a lot of ice but I love the fact that before and after in the same week I was able to surf at Bronte.

So what do we have install for you over the coming quarter. Dental hygiene is something we have been working on as a team over the past few months. Dental disease is something that can go unnoticed and can cause a significant effect on your pets health. We used to offer a manual scale and polish for your pets. We no longer do this as all we are doing is removing the visible signs of plaque off the crown of the tooth. We can not get under the gums where the bacteria can cause the problem of gingivitis and periodontitis. We will continue to offer our Grade 1 dental program which includes a scale and polish under anaesthetic for between $250-$320. The aim is to clean your pets teeth every 6 months like we should do with our dentist and prevent decay rather than treat it once it has happened. If disease is already present it is often not stoppable.

We also will be continuing our highly successful Gold Class and Flea compliance program that many of you are already on. If your not please contact us ASAP to discuss if these preventative programs are for you.

Our Annual Christmas Party Champagne Breakfast will be on Saturday 10th December. You are all invited and this year stay tuned for a perhaps something a little different.

Finally an update on me. I have attached the intro below to article written about the success of Vet HQ in a industry publication. I have also joined a committee of the Australian Veterinary Association Practice Management division and will be helping organise a run mini conferences on practice management over the coming years. Finally, should you need saving at Bronte beach this year you may see me in the yellow and red uniform.

I look forward to seeing you and your pet family for happy, healthy, preventative consultations only.


Rat Lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis)

Ken (a 6month old French Bulldog), is back to his crazy bouncy self, which is amazing given that just a few weeks ago he was seizuring due to a meningitis associated with rat lung worm.

Ken a 6month old French Bulldog.

Rat lungworm is a parasite of rats which is transmitted by snails. Occasionally dogs especially puppies can get accidentally infected when they ingest slugs or snails or food contaminated with mucus from the snail/slug.

Once ingested the parasite migrates to the dogs spinal cord and causes a form of meningitis. Signs that you might see include back leg weakness, seizures, neck pain, ataxia (wobbly gait) and lethargy. Ken presented to us with hindlimb weakness and seizures, he then began to become painful on manipulation of his neck and he became increasingly painful over 2 days despite pain relief. Diagnosis can be challenging with no definitive diagnosis available. Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms (usually with a history of exposure to rats or snails) and blood results with an increased white blood cell count. Ken’s blood results were completely normal. Further diagnosis which can be helpful include an MRI or CT scan to look at the brain and spinal cord and a CSF tap (a sample of spinal fluid is taken) which shows white blood cells found typically with parasite infection (called eosinophils) and the presence of antibodies within the spinal fluid. Ken’s CT scan showed no lesions within the brain however the CSF tap did show a large number of eosinophils (white blood cells that target parasites).

The clinical symptoms are related to inflammation rather than the presence of larvae themselves and so treatment is aimed at reducing this inflammation with a long course (between 1 and 3 months) of corticosteroids. Ken is back to his happy bouncy self with this medication, the aim now is to slowly taper the medications until he no longer requires it.

Prevention includes keeping your dog up to date with wormers every 3 months (milbemax has some effect at killing both the adult parasite and the larvae), and reducing interactions with slugs/snails and rats. This includes reducing rat and snail populations and avoiding leaving food/water bowls outdoors where slugs/snails can contaminate the food or water.

Just a word of caution, be careful not to let you pet ingest any slug bait or rat poison as this could be equally detrimental!

Dr Troy.

Preparing dogs for a new baby


Our clients often ask me how to prepare their first born (canine) for a newborn baby. When you bring your baby home, your dog is faced with new smells, sounds, less attention and alterations to their normal daily routine. It can be difficult and scary for them, especially if they have previously been the "only child".
    Before the baby is born:
  1. Concentrate on practising basic obedience – The most important ones are "sit", "down", "leave it" and "come"
  2. Get them used to routine changes – changes to their feeding time, different people taking them for walks. If you are planning on using a dog day care or a dog walker introduce your dog to these before the baby comes.
  3. Change the rules well in advance – if you don’t want your dog sleeping in your room when the baby comes, then transition them into another room on very comfortable bedding with their favourite toys. If you want the baby’s room to be off-limits then teach your dog to sit and stay by the door and keep the door closed so that they get used to the rule.
  4. Desensitize them to crying – Crying can be terrifying for a dog and very difficult for you to manage their anxiety while trying to deal with a screaming baby. Play realistic Youtube baby crying noises whilst feeding treats so that they get used to the sound and associate it with something pleasant.

  5. Once the baby is born
  6. Bringing the baby home – let everyone else go into the house first so that your dog can say hello normally and once calm, put a leash on him/her and when the baby comes in, give your dog some treats to divide the attention. Reward your dog for being calm. It is up to you whether you are comfortable with your dog coming in close proximity to the baby but it is always recommended to have a lead attached and someone else in control of the lead incase they become overexcited or aggressive.
  7. Never force an interaction with the baby. Reward when there is a calm interaction.
  8. Never leave a child unsupervised with a dog
  9. Don’t only give your dog attention when the baby is asleep and ignore him/her when the baby is awake – then your dog will associate the baby’s presence with being ignored. When feeding, you can throw your dog treats, you can take the dog for a walk with the baby in the pram
  10. Have some kongs or toys which will entertain your dog for a while on hand for times when you can’t give them attention.
  11. If your dog seems distressed when the baby cries, get used to tossing your dog some treats while calming your baby. Your dog will discover that crying doesn’t signal anything bad.
  12. The most important thing is not to get worried yourself you have enough to worry about with a newborn. In 18 years of practice Geoff has never heard of any issues that have arisen at least not until they are toddlers.
Dr Nicky.

Mac the Wonder Dog

Mac is a gentle giant. One of those beautiful big dogs who are equally happy having a smooch as they are running in the park and playing rumbles and chasing. He is a big Mastiff cross, so when he became lame in his front leg, no one was surprised that he may have pulled a muscle or developed a little arthritis. Unfortunately rest and anti inflammatory drugs helped but the lameness persisted and we needed to do x-rays in order to determine if other problems existed.

Here's a picture of Mac lounging about and relaxing. What a life!

Mac came into Vet HQ and he had his sore right front leg xrayed. Unfortunately what we found was a large area of his radius (lower front leg bone) had been eaten away. In the xray below, the arrow points to a large black hole in the end of Mac’s leg. Biopsies of the bone revealed a bone cancer called an OSTEOSARCOMA.

Bone cancers are extremely aggressive types of cancer. They start in the middle of the bone cavity and make their way outwards. The outside of the bone or periosteum is where all the nerve endings are found. Once the outside of the bone is breached, the bone cancers become quite painful and lameness is seen. Pain control and overall comfort are the number one considerations. Next, is to stop this aggressive cancer from spreading.

This is achieved through AMPUTATION of the leg. It may seem drastic and it is a dilemma that some owners have had to face when their pet is diagnosed with a bone cancer or a severe limb injury after an accident. It may seem even harder when it is a big dog because the worry always will be “how will such a big dog get around on 3 legs?” Unfortunately bone cancers largely occur in the bigger breeds of dogs.

Fortunately dogs are incredibly resilient to change and take each day in their stride. They have no stigma attached to being three legged. Ongoing pain form the cancer is more debilitating than learning to manoeuvre on 3 legs even for the biggest dogs. It helped that Mac was fit and slim.

Mac’s owners had no hesitation in removing the cancer and the source of pain from Mac’s body. His recovery was amazing and he commenced chemotherapy and is doing well. Look out for a video on our Facebook page showing Mac’s three legged antics.

Diagnosing the Disease

When a dog or cat presents with lameness of any cause, the very first thing to do is a good physical examination. The feet are checked for skin lesions, broken nails, sores or cuts, bee stings, broken glass, grass seeds amongst many things. The joints are manipulated to assess the range of motion and “muscle tightness” of a limb. Is the movement symmetrical between the left and right side? Are the muscles symmetrical? Are there any swellings on one side but not the other? The bones are felt for any swelling or pain. Bone cancers typically form away from the elbow joint and towards the knee. Cruciate disease is also a very common cause of knee pain. It is very important to distinguish between the two as the treatments are very different. Radiographs allow us to look at the structure of the bone and ensure that all changes are documented and treated. In some cases, surgery is required to repair ruptured ligaments, remove foreign bodies or as in Mac’s case, take a bone biopsy.

If your pet is lame there are so many causes- sometimes a little rest will fix things but as the saying goes "if pain persists then see your doctor/ vet"

Dr Caryn

Hamish the Shih Tzu

This article I would like everyone to meet Hamish, he is a 10 year old Shih Tzu and possibly one of the friendliest dogs we’ve met. He came to us in June this year for a routine dental procedure. 

Before any general anaesthetic, or vaccination, we perform a general health check as standard. During Hamish’s health check we noticed a mass in his abdomen, this led us to check his prostate and we noted a rectal mass. After discussion with the owner we decided against the dental procedure and opted to investigate the mass by taking a surgical sample. 

Happily the surgery was a success and we got multiple samples, unfortunately the results from the lab confirmed an aggressive tumour that had spread from his gut into his liver, spleen and lymph nodes. The tumour is a type called a “malignant plasma cell tumour” this is a tumour of white blood cells and can spread rapidly around the whole body.

When dealing with any cancer we consider the same three options, surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The type and location of the cancer usually determines the best treatment option. In Hamish’s case because the tumour had spread surgery would not be feasible, however this cancer often responds well to chemotherapy, and with the help of a specialist veterinary oncologist we started Hamish on a course of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy can be a scary word for many people, we often associate it with human medicine and the severe side effects people suffer. Understandably we are reluctant to put our animals through such a strong and aggressive therapy when they won’t understand why they are sick. 

But our aim in veterinary chemotherapy is different to that in human chemotherapy. Human chemotherapy requires very high doses of medications that cause a myriad of side effects because we want to eliminate all traces of the tumour. In dogs (and cats) our target is to reduce the size and number of tumours to prevent symptoms of the disease, but we don’t always expect complete elimination, this means we can be a lot more forgiving with our drug choices and doses and can significantly reduce the number and severity of side effects. 

I am happy to report that Hamish is on his 3rd round of chemotherapy, has had no side effects, although we have kept a close eye on his blood levels to be sure he is coping well, and the tumours have responded very well to the treatment, he is like a puppy again!

We always stress the importance of routine health checks, to catch diseases like this as early as possible. Vaccinations, and dental procedures are important throughout life, but especially as they get older. 

Nobody ever wants to hear the diagnosis of cancer, but we at VetHQ work hard to guide you and your pet through options and available treatment, and will be there every step of the way.

Good health,
     Dr Tony, Hamish and the Vet HQ team

Is your cat on the best flea product around?

September 2016

Vet HQ
389 New South Head Rd
Double Bay
NSW  2028
P: 93261255
F: 93261266
F: Vet HQ Double Bay
F: Vet HQ Dog Day Care
You Tube: Vet HQ
Instagram: Vet HQ
Our Values:
1.  Together we are more successful
2.  We care - every time- all the time
3.  We do the best we can
4.  We communicate directly, honestly and empathetically
5.  We are responsible and we are the solution
Our Purpose:
To provide the highest quality pet care and be an integral link between you and your pet
Our Guarentee:
No one will work harder to look after your pets.

Our Vets:
Dr Geoff Golovsky
BVSc(hons) MANZCVS (Surgery)
Interests: Surgery, Oncology, Talking (as much as you want)
Dr Caryn Wun
Interests: Internal Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging (xray/ultrasound), Behaviour
Dr Tammy Poon (currently on Mat Leave)
Interests: Surgery, Dermatology, Cardiorespiratory disease
Dr Nikki Goldberg
Interests: Surgery, Dermatology, Dentistry

Dr Tony Knapp
BSc (hons), BVSc, MRCVS
Interests: Cat Medicine and soft tissue surgery

Dr Troy Jackson
BSc(hons), BVetMed(hons) MRCVS
Interests: internal medicine, ophthalmology, and emergency and critical care
Dr Julie Ashton
BSc (hons), BVSc, MRCVS, MANZCVS (behavior)
Interests:  Behaviour

Our Nurses:
Kate Fahy- VN Head Nurse

Jenna JJ Luskey- VN
Client Services Nurse

Astrid Jeffs- Senior VN
Kristina Karlson- VN
Mel Ashby- VN
Ashley Pronyk- VN
Mariko Shimizu- VN
Amy Butler- VN
Tessa Carroll- VN
Elle Wright- VN
Michelle Minter- VN
Our Trainee Nurses:
Anna Maltseva
Our Animal Attendants:
Ainslie Maher
Kristie Ashworth
Jessica Brogna

Our Reception Team:
Sasha McJury Senior Receptionist
Jen Dodd Senior Receptionist
Elle Wright Trainee VN
Michelle Minter VN
Our Dog Stylists:
Mariko Shimizu- VN and Groomer
Amy Butler- VN
Rie Otsubo
Anna Maltseva- BVSc

Our Vet students:
Talia Jacobs
India De Bres
Rob Lea
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

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