Introduction

Christmas already. Apparently as you get older time starts to go more quickly. Well I tell you every year up to now seems like an eternity because I am so young, but perhaps the tide is turning. It’s been an amazing year and a successful year for all of our staff and extended family.  We all measure success in different ways. For me obviously, in running a business the business must be successful but Vet HQ is more than a business and seeing my staff grow and develop is perhaps more important than the financial aspect. We have had a great year with lots of goals achieved and lots not achieved but as I have told my staff “failure is part of success”. We will keep on trying, as we understand we are not perfect but we will continue to strive to be that way.
Our charitable footprint is important to us at Vet HQ. Over the past 11 months to date we have :

  • Looked after 50 stray animals at a cost of $646.00
  • We have treated 85 wildlife animals at a cost of $7280.00
  • We donated our earnings from cup cake day to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home of $1690.00
  • We continue to support clown doctors for $300.00 pa
  • We have commenced supporting Pets in the Park with providing free care to the pets of those who are homeless.

And what’s up for 2018?  The project that is most exciting currently is the refurbishment of Double Bay and building of a new surgical facility in order to separate cats and dogs. Also we will be building a new Dog Day Care facility.  There are multiple plans going on currently but I hope to lodge a DA if not by the end of the year early next year. More news will become available when I know more.

Seasons Greetings to you all and I look forward to a champagne on 9th December.


VetHQ Darlinghurst Open Day 2017

In June of this year, VetHQ took the opportunity to expand into the inner east of Sydney through taking over a small terrace clinic on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst. It has been quite the ride! The first few months were a big adjustment, but finally things have stabilised. We have a great team in the Darlinghurst clinic now, and getting to know the pets and families of Darlo has been a real pleasure.

On Saturday the 18th of November 2017 we had an open day for the new clinic. This was an opportunity to thank our clients for their support, and to show off our fully equipped facility. The event was done in full VetHQ style. We had a photo booth set up out the front, a BBQ out the back, tunes, competitions and great prizes. One of the best things about being a part of the business community of Victoria Street has to be our delicious neighbours! We had delicious fresh sushi supplied by Zushi and sweet treats from Messina to wash it down. The support offered by our suppliers was amazing.

Everyone was a winner on the day. No one left without a show bag and a full belly, but we have to mention the big prize winners. Congratulations to Ruth Bender with Coco who won the lucky door prize from Hills, and to Andrew and Joel Gill who won their pup Zoey a $500 gift voucher for a stay at Pet Resorts!

We had some very notable attendees on the day. 65kg star French Mastiff Ralphie the Dogue was in attendance with his side-kick Loui the French Bulldog. They made quite the splash! We were also lucky to see Christa Billich and Charlie of Real Housewives of Sydney fame.

The staff would like to thank all of our wonderful clients who attended, it was so special to celebrate our opening with you! We are looking forward to our next fun event, the Client Xmas Party on December 9th. Hope to see you all there.

If you are interested in seeing some great pictures from the photo booth on the day, follow this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/imuj2givs2vdjba/AACPZm-wnJLT-Zs1IJemGWAJa?dl=0

Dr. Jess Green.


Bad Debts

There was an amazing add on TV a few years ago where someone was at the checkout of Woolworths and said to the employee “Don’t worry about the bill, I will come back tomorrow and pay you.” The add was for the Commonwealth Bank informing people that the bank now pay’s businesses overnight instead of in 3 days. It is a great service the banks have started offering to small business, but more importantly for me, the add illustrated beautifully the fact that we do not expect to get an account at Woolworths.

A very small number of clients have taken advantage of my goodwill and trust (some might call it naivety) over the past years and unfortunately have forced me to change Vet HQ’s policy on accounts. I am due in court in March next year to fight a particularly nasty individual for a large sum of money that he believes does not need to be paid. It seems that there is a modus operandi for avoiding paying your accounts on google that myself and so many of my colleagues have been subject to.

As a small business, we cannot afford financially and mentally to just write off debt. My vets and I work tirelessly to look after every pet that walks in the doors as if it was our own. We will do everything we can and to have it slapped back in our face is offensive and emotionally draining.
As a result, our new accounts policy at Vet HQ is there are no accounts. The only accounts issued will be those for pre-paid sessions in dog day care. My customer service team will be asking for deposits for hospitalised animals and emergency cases to the value of the estimate provided. An accounts terms and conditions will be included on our website and an acknowledgment text will be included on our consent forms.

I understand that this article is only applicable to 0.5% of our clients. However, I feel it necessary to publish our new policy so that I do not upset any of you going forward.
Thank you for your understanding.

Geoff Golovsky


Tick Season is Back! Is your pet protected?

They are hard to find, quick to kill and will be hanging around all Summer. Paralysis ticks are back in full force and we have already seen a couple of cases at Vet HQ this year.

While we are lucky that paralysis ticks aren’t usually found in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, they are very close by, being found as close as the North Shore, South Coast and Central coast. It’s very easy for a tick to latch onto a dog or person and be scratched off in the East and therefore during this danger period we highly recommend that all animals have paralysis tick prevention.

How to prevent ticks:
Dogs: We recommend 3 monthly Bravecto OR Monthly Neguard OR Fortnightly Advantix/Frontline
Cats: Frontline spray every 3 weeks. This is the only registered product in Australia for paralysis ticks for cats. There is a lot of research for Seresto collars being conducted which suggest that these prevent paralysis ticks too but it is not yet registered for this use.
DO NOT USE DOG TICK PREVENTATIVES ON CATS AS THEY OFTEN HAVE AN INGREDIENT WHICH IS HIGHLY TOXIC TO CATS 
There is nothing better than daily tick searches and if you are taking your dog to any highly affected regions please make an appointment to see one of our vets or nurses so that we can teach you how to do this most effectively as ticks can be small and hide in all sorts of places.

Signs of tick paralysis:
– Gagging/vomiting/regurgitating food
– Change in bark or meow
– Back leg weakness
– Difficulty getting up
– Coughing or difficulty breathing
– Wobbly when walking
– Lethargic or loss of appetite

What to do if you find a tick or your animal has any of the signs of tick paralysis:
Bring your pet into Vet HQ immediately. If you are not close by then please remove the tick carefully and try not to squeeze it as you pull. Bring the tick in with you to the vet so that we can confirm what species of tick it is.


Too Fast, Too Slow – Thyroid Disease in the Dog and Cat

Ushi is a 5 year old, female speyed Husky. In the last 6 months alone, Ushi put on a whopping 7.5kg of body weight, despite being given the same amount of food each day. Her coat was also becoming dull and brittle, she was tired all the time and presented for severe spinal pain.

A blood test revealed a low level of the thyroid hormone T4. A further test confirmed a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Within 3 months of treatment with thyroxine, a synthetic T4 replacement medication, Ushi had lost 4 kg. She was much more spritely, her coat had improved and she no longer suffered from back pain.

Hypothyroidism is actually very uncommon in companion animals. It is, however, much more common in the dog than in the cat. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is very common in the cat, but almost unheard of in the dog.

The thyroid gland is located in the region of the neck. This gland produces hormones (including T4) that regulate many processes in the body. In essence, hypothyroidism means the thyroid gland is underactive, resulting in symptoms that reflect a slowing down of the metabolism. Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid gland, leading to a speeding up of the metabolism.

Signs of hypothyroidism in the dog may include:

  • Weight gain;
  • Lethargy, weakness and/or exercise intolerance;
  • Hair loss (alopecia) with a dry, brittle coat;
  • Cold intolerance (hypothermia); and
  • Low heart rate (bradycardia).

Signs of hyperthyroidism in the cat may include:

  • Weight loss despite increased appetite;
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria);
  • Anxiety / agitation / aggression;
  • Unkempt coat;
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea; and
  • High heart rate  (tachycardia).

Treatments range from daily medication for dogs with hypothyroidism, to long term options such as radioactive iodine therapy in cats with hyperthyroidism. Prognosis is good to excellent, depending on treatment of choice and monitoring of T4 levels, and helps to prevent adverse consequences such as heart problems in the cat.

If your dog or cat are showing any of these clinical signs, a simple blood test can rule in or out an overactive or underactive thyroid.

Dr Liz Rowland

A dog with hypothyroidism – note the alopecia, hyperpigmentation and lusterless hair coat


A cat with hyperthyroidism – note her unkempt coat


Foods to avoid this festive season

Whether its drinks, food or spending, most of us overindulge during the festive period of Christmas or Hanukkah. So do our pets!

While the result of our transgressions may lead to no more than a sore head, stomach ache or scary credit card balance, the same cannot be said for our pets, where the consequences can be much more severe!

It’s very important for owners to be aware which foods they can and cannot share with their fury friends.

Foods to avoid include:

·         Macadamia nuts 

·         The reason behind their toxicity is currently unknown. Within 12 hours macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, weakness, muscle tremors, elevations in body temperature and depression

·         Christmas cakes, puddings and mince pies  

·         All these delicious treats contain either currents, raisins or sultanas. These all have the ability to cause permanent kidney damage. They’re also full of fat, which can result in stomach troubles or pancreatitis

·         Chocolate 

·         Chocolate contains a substance called theobromide that at low doses can result in vomiting and diarrhoea but at high enough doses can result in seizures, elevations in body temperature and abnormalities of the heart function

·         Onion & garlic 

·         Both can cause gastric irritation and damage red blood cells leading to anaemia

·         Bones 

·         Bones tend to split when cooked and can splinter your animals throat, puncture vital organs or become stuck in the gastrointestinal tract causing obstructions. It is recommended to only feed animals raw uncooked bones

·         Alcohol 

·         Alcohol has a much stronger effect on animals than on humans and even a drop can cause sedation, weakness and incoordination

·         Nutmeg 

·         A key ingredient in eggnog, a few tablespoons of nutmeg has been shown to cause nausea, vomiting, tremors and seizures

·         Fatty meats & off cuts  

·         The high fat content puts the animal at a high risk of developing pancreatitis or even just an upset stomach

·         All the oily food of Hanukkah! 

·         As tasty as those donuts are – these foods put any animal at risk of gastric upsets or pancreatitis


Spring Baby Birds

Spring has well and truly sprung this is the time of year when we see more wildlife coming through our doors, many of which are young birds.

Our first job on a wild animal being presented is to assess for injury and disease, our primary aim is always rerelease.
If they are healthy they can be released immediately or the following day in the location they were found.

If they have minor injuries, or are underdeveloped (possum joeys, baby birds etc) then once we have ensured their stability and survivability they will move on to carers from WIRES who will give them the R&R they need before release.

If a wild animal is too injured, and unable to return to full health to allow rerelease, it is the kindest option to euthanise early. Wild animals, in particular birds, do not cope well with extended periods of time in captivity, and to try and maintain them for the rest of their lives in captivity is considered cruel.

Unfortunately, the truth of the issue is humans make terrible mother birds, the survival rates of fledglings in captivity is low, due to challenges in feeding, maintaining growth, encouraging natural behaviours and preventing imprinting on humans, birds make better mothers for chicks then humans do!

What to do when you see injured wildlife:

If they are truly injured, they should be brought to a vet, those that can be assisted; such as this kingfisher who flew into a window, will receive treatment and be cared for by a WIRES carer. Many carers focus on species groups, such as, marsupials, nectar eaters, or insectivorous birds. Kingfishers like kookaburras eat a mixture of insects and small prey species like lizards and fish, they require a special diet which is difficult to mimic with common home products. Once back to full health they will be released where they were found.

If you see a fledgling, LEAVE IT. Baby birds must leave the nest eventually, and they usually do so before they can effectively fly. This is a very important part of their development. If you see a fluffy feathered bird on the ground it is most likely a fledgling, it’s parents will be around and they will continue to care for it until it can fly and look after itself.

If you believe the fledgling is injured, then you can bring it to a vet, however if it is healthy it is best to return it to where it was found. Parent birds do NOT reject their young after being touched by humans, we can even return the fledgling as late as 4 days later and it can be reaccepted and reared by its own parents.

Fledglings look so helpless and the parent will often not approach while we are present, the tugging on your heartstrings can be difficult to resist, but in too many cases we are kidnapping rather than rescuing baby birds. Please ensure any fledgling you bring in is in direct danger, is injured, or truly abandoned (no parent for 24 hours or more).

Good Health and Happy Holidays

Dr Tony