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For Happy, Healthy Pets... Always
Itchy April and Apps?  
April 2014

russellvalevet @ gmail. com






 I can't believe it is April already, can you?  We are celebrating our sweet "16" birthday this month, as Russell Vale Animal Clinic opened in 1998.  We've had our ups and our downs, but at least we have always had family. 


A big thank you to many of you who responded to  my Facebook request for testimonials for our recent Illawarra Women in Business Awards application.  Wow, you all brought a tear to my eye, and I know it transformed the application too! 


 Read on below to find out about the exciting updates to the PocketVet app, and introducing our involvement in the new First Aid app.  There is a medic alert on Giardia (with a dramatic increase in cases in the past few weeks). 


Itching pets - wow, with the wet, humid weather in the past few weeks, it has been phenomenal!  Ear infections top the list, with anal gland issues  and red raw tummies coming up a close second and third!



 And a last reminder - Easter is coming, and that usually means an abund
ance of chocolate in the house.  Beware - chocolate is poisonous to our pets!


Yours & Thank You!


Dr Liz 
PS This is our third year of Animail Tails online, and back issues are available online.
Whats up Doc?  Bunnies, of course!

  •  Rabbits  
    From our Open Day 2013
     only have 28 teeth, and they constantly grow.  It is the fibre in their diet that allows adequate chewing to keep the molars a  t the right length.
  • The world's largest rabbit, called Darius, weighs about 25 kg and has his own bodyguard.
  • Baby rabbits are called kits (or kittens)
  • Male rabbits are called bucks and females are called does.
  • Rabbits can jump up to 1 metre high, and 3 metres long.
  • When there is danger a rabbit will warn others by thumping their hind legs
  • Rabbits are social animals and they love having company.
  • They can be trained to use the litter tray, and can be trained to come and sit too. 

 And now some important dental disease facts - 

  • Diets should be 80% hay and grass. Pellets (if offered) should contain at least 20% fibre.
  • Signs of dental disease include a nasal discharge, inability to close the mouth, swelling around the face, and front teeth at funny angles.  They will stop eating, and not groom themselves properly. 

Drum Roll... What is Max?

Did you join in our Facebook discussion after our March issue "What is Max?"  Well, everyone agreed that Max is adorable, but that isn't a breed.

In case you didn't join in, we had some interesting suggestions, with alot of them revolving around Great Dane, Shepherd, Boxer, Staffy, Bull Arab and English bull terrier combinations.  One comedian (you know who you are), had to put in Great Dane X Chihuahua! 

Well, the results are in - and Max is still an adorable, much loved dog.


The mix breed component had 5 different breeds, which included Bull terrier.
Mixed Breed DNA tests are not an exact science, as many different breeds have similar genetic profiles, but it can offer useful information, as it did with Max. It can help understand certain behavioural and physical traits a pet may have, and from a disease stand point, we do know that certain breeds are at higher risk of certain diseases. 

A Dingo Fact: Dr Crowther, from the University of Sydney  has said that "dingo's appropriate scientific classification was Canis dingo, as they appeared to not be descended from wolves, were distinct from dogs and were not a subspecies"  Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Are you "app-dated" on us?


 We are actively involved in two smart phone apps which are FREE for you. Don't forget to select Russell Vale Animal Clinic as your preferred vet.  


The first one is PocketVet, which we have been involved with for over two years now.  Allow push notifications to receive medic alerts (recently we alerted to the increase in Giardia cases, and our holiday hours).  


PocketVet allows you to add your pet's details, photos, and set up reminders. It gives easy access to us via email or phone.  There is a handy Lost Pet feature (which we hope you never need to use). It is constantly improving, which is something we always like to see.




The second app is the Australian based First Aid app. It has been developed by specialist emergency veterinarians, and is designed to help you and your pet with general pet first aid information. I hope you never need it, but it is there for you just in case. 


 Don't forget to select Russell Vale Animal Clinic as your vet. 


Get appdated now!




The links for you



on iphone/ipad/ipod


on android phones:


First Aid app:

on iphone/ipad/ipod


on android phones


Any suggestions? Hit reply on this email, and I will forward them on. 


How is your emergency plan going? 


If you need help with getting your pet's First Aid kit together, we have the information to help you.  


Visit here. 

Updates on Pain & Behaviour
 Recently, I attended a seminar at the Animal Referral Hospital at Homebush, which focused on the link between pain and behaviour.  The other topic was diagnosing difficult front limb lameness.

If you are on twitter, you can go to myFollow us on Twitter to read what I tweeted on the night, as there were many statements made which were thought provoking. 

"Vets and owners are more likely to treat pets who vocalise their pain and ignore quiet but still painful pets" 

"If people are used to seeing pain then they do nothing to relieve pain" 

As a dog joint vet, I often see pets who are struggling to get up or down, or seem to be sleeping more, or who favour a limb during their vaccine or vet check.   And most times, the owners say to me "but they do not cry as if they are in pain", and then decline any treatment. 

Our animals hide their pain - they will still wag their tails and they will still purr. I want you to promise me that you will watch your pet closely over the next few weeks, and if you find any of the following signs, make a time to get your pet checked.
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Favouring a limb
  • Decreased activity or less interest in play
  • Attitude or behaviour changes
  • Having stiff or sore joints
  • Being less alert
  • Reluctance to jump, run or climb stairs
  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping more
To find out more what can be done to help your pet with arthritis pain, visit our All for joints page on our website. If you feel your pet has any other type of pain, make an appointment to come in to see us. 

Medic Alert - Giardia Outbreak

At time of publishing, in the past four weeks, we have confirmed Giardia infection in 6 patients with chronic (more than 4 days) diarrhoea and inappetance.  A simple poop test is done, and diagnosis is made. Treatment started, and everyone is happy!   The test result above is from our own dog, Piper (who just loves drinking from muddy water puddles).  She is now back to her normal mischievous puppy self! 

A negative result is just a blue band.  Sadly, we haven't had too many of those lately! 

Sick of itchy pets?  So are we....
  We mean that in a nice way - we are not sick of seeing your pets, but we feel you and your pet's frustration when there is an itch - they start scratching, licking, gnawing, shaking the head or rubbing their bottoms on the ground. And it doesn't stop, or when it does, it just comes back again!. Frustration!

Sadly, itchy pets is what we see alot of when there is alot of rain, and a bit of warmth. 

We are seeing alot of 
- anal gland problems including anal gland abscesses which have required surgery. Get those anal glands checked.

- severe ear infections (in pets who have had a history of them, and in some new ones too). Most of the infections were due to Malassezia, a yeast which thrives in humid weather.

- itchy feets- usually due to Malasezzia infection (primarily or secondary to an underlying allergy). We often will see a brown band at the base of the nail too.  Treatment  
Peanut's saliva stained feet
involves allergy medications (antihistamines or prescription), and antifungal shampoos (with my favourites being Dermcare Malaseb and PAW Mediderm used twice a week). 

- itchy tummies - in many cases they have been due to overgrown grasses, especially from the Wandering Dew family (see here for photos), and some due to insect bites (mosquitoes or fleas). 

Mosquitoes are a common cause of Hot spots on the head, and can also carry disease, such as Heartworm. There are also reports of mosquitoes carrying a virus which causes paralysis in animals.
How to help? 
  • Good quality flea and mosquito control even if you do not see any fleas 
  • Gentle soap free shampoos and ALWAYS follow up with a leave in conditioner (do not use the 2 in 1's.)
  • Keep ears clean - we like PAW Gentle Ear Cleaner, but we often use Dermcare Otoflush for those with recurrent yeast infections or for our swimming dogs.
  •  Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3/6's) may help.
  • Antihistamines may help some pets
Visit our dermatology page for more help.

Till next time
big ears
We are "all ears" when it comes to feedback, whether good, bad or indifferent.

An apology for the delay in sending this issue of Animail Tails.  I was unaware that the "unsubscribe" button was not working as well as it should've been, and some who had chosen to unsubscribe were still receiving emails from us. 


Hopefully, that has been sorted, and only those who are happy to read and be part of Animail Tails are receiving it.    


If you have any suggestions of topics we can cover in our newsletter or blogs then hit reply and let us know. 


If you are happy with us, why not let us and others know?  You can review us on womo, google plus,Like us on Facebook and yelp



We are for happy, healthy pets.... always!  Have a Happy Easter everyone!



Till next time....


Liz, Dirk, Tegan, Piper and Pandora (the boss).

 ava member logo
In This Issue
What's up Doc?
What is Max?
Apps Update
Pain & Behaviour
Medic Alert
Itchy Pet Help.
Dr Liz in Perth
Million Paws Walk
For Fun
Awards 2014
Family Photos
Dr Liz in Perth end of May


Pet Travel Safelty



It is an exciting time for me - each two years, I try to attend the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference (I usually attend the Small Animal conference every other year).  Of course, all year round I attend weekend seminars and evening webinars or seminars.  The learning never stops. 


This year is my year -  The AVA conference is in  Perth, so I will be heading over on Sunday 24th of May.  I won't be returning back to the vets until Friday the 6th of June. 


I'll be flying over, but coming back on the Indian Pacific - very exciting! The last long rail trip I took was in 1990 travelling from Vienna to Krakow.



The topic of the week long conference is "Best Practice", and this fits in with what we try to do at Russell Vale Vets. 


Dirk and Tegan will be at the vet hospital for any supplies or advice that your pet may need. 






Walking with a Million Paws this year?




We are walking this year, and this time, we will be taking Piper (sorry Jake and Smiles). 


We are happy to announce that we have FIVE (5) Donation packs worth $25 each for our Million Paws walking animalclinic family.  


Just email me your donation page, and we will finalise the donation.  First In Best Dressed as we only have FIVE packs available. 


As in previous years, we are also donating prizes for the RSPCA auction - so turn up and start bidding. 


A trip down memory lane: In 2013 we made a call out to our animalclinic family to allow us to adopt a dog to walk. We were able to take Jake and Smiles, for which we are forever thankful.


Our Day
Highlights from our 2013 Million Paws Walk


For Fun!



Our Awards 2014 




 We were nominated for the AVA Practice of Excellence Award this year for the first time, and unfortunately, didn't make it into the finals, but Russell Vale Animal Clinic was "Highly Commended".  This is one of the most prestigious awards in the veterinary world, and to achieve "Highly Commended" is amazing. 


We look forward to attending the presentation at the AVA conference in Perth! 





  We were Finalists for the second year under Pet Services in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards 2014.  


We were one of three veterinary hospitals (the other two were from Queensland and Penrith. Congratulations to our colleagues at Coreen Ave Veterinary Hospital who won our category!  


And, we are also a finalist in the Illawarra Women in Business Awards - Best Business. 


 The finalists are to be announced in early May.  We have had our interview, and were pleasantly surprised to be told that our application was so good, that they changed our entry from Best Small Business to Best Business!  


Oh, by the way, I was told that they did enjoy reading the application too  - and that is thanks to all of my animalclinic family photos - how could they not love all of you!


Our winning photos
These are some of the photos that were included in our recent application in the Illawarra Women in Business Awards.

At our interview, a comment was made on how beautiful my family was.... we agree! 

We do have an online animalclinic family album and we always love to receive more photos to add to it. Just email


maya and shadow touching noses





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Free Online Consultations

You may or may not know that we offer free online advice to all registered pets of Russell Vale Animal Clinic.


maya and shadow touching nosesIn other words, we are just an email away in asking for help.



This is available for you all of the time, all year round. This is what you deserve as part of the animalclinic family.


Of course, there will be times that a vet visit is needed, but for those little questions that don't really need a full consult, we are there to help, if we can.


Visit here for more information.