VetHQ Newsletter
News and information for wellcare of our pets

Christmas 2016

And what a year it has been. I am very proud of my team this year who have continued to fire and have helped me create an even better Vet HQ. In October the team did a half day training together where we did some team building exercises and discussed our vision, values, and direction for the coming 2017. Please look at our facebook site for more on our training day.

On reflection the whirlwind of 2016 has been a policy year. We have concentrated on getting policy and procedure into the minds of all our staff and making sure that each member develops their own responsibilities for their actions. As a result we have seen an empowerment and progression to the next level. We are definitely looking forward to 2017. Unfortunately, we have had to say good bye to two very valued members of the team. Kristina, joined us over 5 years ago with no experience in domestic animals as she had worked with horses her whole life. She was trained and mentored to become one of the as the footballers would vote MVP’s most valuable player.  She qualified as a Vet Nurse and gave us all her energy for a long time. As a young twenty something woman, I want to thank her for her commitment (so rare in Gen Y) and wish her all the success in the future. We are also sadly loosing Sasha our head receptionist. Unfortunately she has only been with us for a year but her partner is commencing teaching Aboriginal children in Coonamble country NSW and unless one of our clients wants to buy her a helicopter the commute is a little long each day. 

On the flip side we have from across the ditch welcomed Hailey a very polite, happy individual who has fit in very well to the team. We also welcome a second Ashley who joins our grooming and Day Care team and we have a new crew of Vet Students, Erina and Amalia who have replaced Talia and India who embark on their final year of rotations before graduating as Veterinarians. Congratulations to the both of you and good luck in the future.
So what are my Christmas/Chanukah learnings this year.
Whatever you believe about the US election, We can all just be thankful that it is over! 

Please come and join us for our annual Christmas drinks on 10 December. This year we will be at Vet HQ as it is our 10 year anniversary. We will have a photo booth, a kindy farm, hospital tours and of course our champagne, pastries and BBQ. We will also be having a birthday cake – for us, not the dogs. 

Dental Disease. A timely reminder.


One of my staff – for anonymity we will call her Ainslie wrote me an email the other day giving her feedback on one of our new dental hygiene products ORAVET. Here is what she had to say. 

Sanchez had a dental and had greenies for 43 days after... (his teeth go very bad very quickly...possibly because of all the pizza crusts he eats 🤔) He ended up with brown marks/ tarter/ calculus  all over his teeth again. It looks like greenies did nothing. We swapped to Ora vet...have been using for 20 days and the brown marks have disappeared. The only side effect .... Green psychedelic poos... which is kind of a nice change when compared with the boring brown sh## we see every day. He has also dropped 2 dress sizes from using Metabolic. We highly recommend both products. 

Dental disease is a massive problem in our pet families. We have instituted a Grade 1 Prophylactic clean for between $250-300 which is a full hygienist clean under anaesthetic. This discounted price is purely to help maintain the health of our pet’s mouths. We also have ceased doing manual cleans as the latest research indicates that this is detrimental to the health of the teeth and gums. Brushing is essential but needs to be done every 1-2 days and hence a monthly brush is a waste of time and money. We also recommend several preventative products in addition to brushing. These include Hills t/d diet, Oravet, Healthymouth and Greenies. 

Please contact us if you have any further questions regarding dental health and hygiene in your pet family. 


Laparoscopy at Vet HQ

At Vet HQ, our nurses and veterinarians spend a lot of time each year at conferences, workshops and completing online courses to ensure we are providing the best and most advanced patient care on offer. Laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery) has become the gold standard for many operations for humans as it is minimally invasive and Vet HQ has now been able to offer this innovation to our patients for over a year and we have been able to see what an advantage it is.

Very small incisions mean a much faster recovery, less risk of post-operative infections and wound complications and most importantly less pain than open abdominal surgery. We have been using this technique for liver biopsies, speys, gastropexys (to avoid a twisted stomach in large breed dogs) and bladder surgeries.

Incision line from a traditional surgical liver biopsy
Incisions from a laparoscopic liver biopsy
Taking a liver biopsy by laparoscopy. We are able to visualise the liver with a camera and take a small piece with some biopsy forceps through two 1cm incisions

The view from the camera of an ovary (circle in the middle) during one of our laparoscopic spey procedures

The view from the camera inside a bladder. You can see some stones in there and we are able to grab them using forceps

If you would like to know more about out laparoscopy options please call us at Vet HQ.
Dr Nicky


Ticker Issues

An important part of the veterinary profession is continuing education. This is used for learning new skills and keeping up to date with the cutting edge of medicine. We at VetHQ put a great deal of importance on continuing education, all staff members partake in continuing education throughout the year in areas as diverse as animal behaviour and welfare, surgical techniques, anaesthetic monitoring, human resources, and medicine.

Recently myself and Dr Geoff completed a course in cardioscanning (scanning the heart) in dogs and cats looking for the early changes in heart disease. This subject is particularly relevant due to the recent release of the EPIC paper.

The EPIC paper is the largest small animal cardiology study done to date! The aim was to assess if the use of pimobendan (trade name Vetmedin) can help to slow the development of heart disease in dogs with mitral valve disease. Pimobendan is already used in dogs with heart failure as a treatment; however this is the first study looking at preventative effects.

Mitral valve disease is a common form of heart disease in dogs, especially small to medium sized breeds like spaniels. The mitral valves sit in the left side of the heart creating a one way gate between the atrium on the top of the heart and the ventricle on the bottom of the heart (see picture). In a normal heart the blood from the lungs comes in to the left atrium, through the mitral valves into the left ventricle and is then pumped around the body.

When this valve starts to fail it leaks. So when the heart pumps, some of the blood goes backward from the ventricle into the atrium rather then forward to the body. Over time the heart responds by enlarging, starting with the atrium enlarging and then the heart as a whole. This allows the volume of blood pushed into the body to stay the same despite a fraction of it going backwards. This stage is called compensation, there are no symptoms because the heart has adapted, and this stage can last several years, but eventually the heart is unable to cope and we reach congestive heart disease. 

Congestive heart disease shows as exercise intolerance, lethargy, panting, coughing and fainting, it can be challenging to treat, and requires lifelong medications, and in most cases multiple drugs are needed. 

When assessing heart disease we use multiple tools, including stethoscopes, blood pressure and x-rays, now we are happy to offer ultrasound. Ultrasound allows us to see and measure the internal structures of the heart, including the left atrium, and lets us view the valves directly. These diagnostic tests coupled with the EPIC study now allow us to help prolong the hearts ability to compensate and reduce the disease progression, giving a longer symptom free life and so better quality of life.

Dr Tony 

Life on Three Legs

Beautiful Brodie is adjusting to life on 3 legs after discovering a fast growing soft tissue sarcoma on his arm. To give him the best chance of survival, we amputated the entire limb. 

Brodie adjusted to having 3 legs straight away and has had no problems running in the park as he did before and is enjoying the extra attention and love. 

Brodie's owners saved him from any spread of the tumour by having the lump checked immediately. If you ever find a lump on your pet, it is best to have it checked by a vet as soon as possible just in case it happens to be something nasty.

Dr Nicky 

Genes are funny things

Genes are funny things. They can hold so much information and mystery at the same time. Look at the amazing staff at Vet HQ. We all have the same basic genes of the human race, but there are small variations that make us the individuals that you can tell apart - different hair - some curly, some straight, some blonde, some brunette; different coloured skin and eyes but we are all people. In dogs and cats that genetic diversity is very obvious too. Think about the dog park and how many different shapes and sizes or breeds of dogs are seen. Each breed looks the way it does because of a combination of genes called a breed signature. Recent studies have enable scientists to identify up to 70 breed signatures for dogs. This information can give us knowledge about what conditions are more commonly associated with a particular breed and hence allow us to be more proactive in prevention and diagnosis. This can be used to avoid breeding animals that have a high risk of certain diseases but also to win a bet!!?? How many times have you heard someone say "I bet you can't tell what breed my dog is?" Genetic testing can now tell you the likely genetic make up of your dog. For the crossbred dog - it can tell you what breed mum, dad and maybe even the grandparents were. 

In order to understand how genes combine we must first consider two important concepts. The phenotype is how genes are expressed – that is, how your pet appears when you look at it – does it have brown eyes, long hair, pointy ears or hazel eyes and floppy ears? 

The genotype is the combination of genes that make your pet look the way it does. There are dominant and recessive genes. In order to display a particular characteristic your pet either needs two recessive genes (one copy from mum and one from dad) or a single dominant gene (from either mum or dad). 

A good example is long hair and short hair dogs. If the gene for long hair is a recessive gene, then both mum and dad must have the long hair gene in order for their puppies to have long hair. This is represented as LxL gives birth to a puppy with the genes L/L. You must have two copies of a recessive gene in order for it to show up.

If the gene for short hair is dominant, then a mating between a long haired dog and a short haired dog will result in a short haired dog. L x S gives birth to a puppy with the genes L/S. Even though a long hair gene is there, it is recessive. The dominant or short haired gene will be the only one on show.

If a short haired dog mates with a short haired dog S X S the puppy produced will have the genes S/S and have short hair.

It starts to get complicated when a dog has a mixed gene pattern mates with another dog with a mixed gene pattern. Remember is the dominant gene that creates the overall “look” or the phenotype.
L/S (shorthaired mixed gene mum) x L/S (shorthaired mix gene dad) will have the chance to give birth to a puppy with one gene from mum and one from dad. The resulting puppies may have :
  • L/L (long haired puppy) remember it takes two recessive genes to show up
  •  L/S (short haired puppies of mixed genes)  remember when there is both a dominant and a recessive gene- only the dominant one shows
  •  S/S (short haired puppy)

It is this complicated mix between dominant and recessive genes that can lead to the most bizarre family trees.
"I bet you can’t tell me what breed Timmy is?"

Recently a DNA test was performed on Timmy. The test is called a BITSA test and this stands for Biological Identification Through Scientific Analysis. 
A cheek swab was taken and Timmy’s heritage was identified. 

bitser n Colloq 1. a mongrel animal of mixed stock …Macquarie dictionary

December 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 Double Bay
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
Ashley Pronyk VN
Elle Purdie VN
Tessa Carroll VN
Mariko Shimizu VN
Amy Butler VN
Our Trainee Nurses:
Ashley Crowe
Our Animal Attendants:
Caitlyn Wright
Kristie Ashworth
Jessica Brogna

Our Reception Team:
Sasha McJury Senior Receptionist
Jen Dodd Senior Receptionist
Michelle Minter VN
Ainslie Maher
Our Dog Stylists:
Mariko Shimizu VN and Groomer
Amy Butler VN
Kaye Tam

Our Vet students:
Rob Lea
Erina Leask
Manali Subramaniam
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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