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For Happy, Healthy Pets... Always
Ears, Bums, George & More! 
May 2014

russellvalevet @ gmail. com




 Another packed Animail Tails here for you, but don't forget that we have now more than two years of issues that are equally unique, so if you have some spare time, go have a squiz.


And, just in case you didn't see it in the previous newsletter - A reminder that I will be travelling to Perth in the last week of May for the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and then taking my sweet time to get back to Wollongong (coming back by train).  Dirk and Tegan will be manning the vet hospital during this time, so if you need any help, they will try to help you as much as they can. 


Are you walking in the Million Paws Walk this year?  If so, don't forget

Lillie's Love Bite!

we have donation packs available (limited number, so it is first in best dressed). Just hit reply, and email me  your donation page.


Bellambivets blog will be covering a few controversial topics in May (its a quiet month, so why not light some firecrackers...) so if you have an opinion or three, why not add yours! I will be talking about upselling, cruelty, and our visits to our off leash areas with Piper. 


Finally, any feedback about Animail Tails?  What you like, what you don't like? Hit reply, and hit me with your suggestions!



Yours & Thank You!


Dr Liz 
PS This is our third year of Animail Tails online, and back issues are available online.
Introducing George


If you haven't been following our Facebook or the Bellambi vets blog, then you would have not heard the story of George. 


Visit our Bellambivets blog for the full story.


George came in looking very old, very thin, very unwell cat, that had nails which had

Meet George - before his medication

grown over into his feet.  We treated the infection, gave him food, water, flea control and worming - and he gained weight and looked happier. 


But he failed to continue to gain weight, so blood tests were done, and confirmed he had hyperthyroidism.  Medication was specially compounded for him, and he has started this medication at the time of sending this edition out.  


He recently suffered another set back, suffering from an acute episode of vestibular disease (an uncommon condition of old cats where they develop a head tilt and trouble walking).  Most cats do make a full recovery with this, but not all. 



Wish him good luck and a good response to medication.


We will be repeating the blood work in mid May, so keep your  fingers crossed for beautiful George. Our aim is to try to reverse the changes on his body that disease has caused - we can only hope we can.


Preparing Your Pet for Winter

Our nights are getting colder, and with loss of daylight saving, it is usually dark by the time we get home. 

This often means that our pets may not be getting the same exercise as they were through the warmer months. Our pets also tend to  put on weight through winter like some of us. So now, is the time to prepare your pet for winter. 

We advise that you
  • adjust your pet's food to take into account their changed activity levels
  • Check that their bedding and shelter are suitable for the winter months
  • All dogs and cats should be started on joint supplements - there are many available, but we like Flex, PAW Osteosupport and Seaflex. 
  • Those who have had Synovan or Cartrophen injections in the    jdpast, consider booster injections in May and June - don't wait until your pet is showing signs of stiffness or slowing up. 
  • Consider starting your pet on Joint foods - we recommend Hills j/d for both dogs and cats. We have started George on Feline j/d for his joints. 


Emergency Treatment for Ear Infections
big ears



In the past two months we have seen alot of dogs with severe ear infections. And like anything, the pain usually hits at night time, and everyone is distressed till the morning, which is the earliest you can get them in for a vet check.


My Astonishing Secrets postings on my blog are written for this type of scenario in mind - ie to try to help you help your pet till you get in to see a vet. 


 For more detailed advice, visit my Astonishing Secrets post on Ear infections.


 A Home Made Ear Cleaner:

An oldie but still a goodie home made ear cleaning solution can be made in your own kitchen.


Mix white vinegar and water 50:50. 


Invest in ladies make up removing pads (they are soft, cheap, and disposable) to wipe our the ear canals. 



Do not squirt this into the ear, but use it to wipe out the ear, and remove any excess wax or material.  Doing this will help remove some of the debris, and make your pet alot more comfortable. 


Extra Info

If you feel your pet has ear mites - then use Advocate or Revolution each two weeks for three doses.

If you feel your pet has a bacterial or yeast infection - don't waste your money on the over counter stuff at the pet shop, your pet needs prescription medication that requires a vet visit.  We are unable to supply prescription medications over the counter (this is the law).


For more detailed information on emergency pain relief for sore ears (or any other problem), visit my Astonishing Secrets post which has information in alot more detail.


This information is to help you and your pet until you can arrange to get them seen at Russell Vale Animal Clinic.


  It is not intended to replace a vet visit, as your pet will need ear swab test, the right medication, and most importantly - monitoring to ensure that the medication is doing what it is supposed to be doing. 

Thyroid disease in dogs and cats


Most of us know someone who is on thyroid medication.  But did you know this is also a common problems in our pets too? 


Our pets can suffer from either low levels (hypothyroidism) or high levels (hyperthyroidism), although there are some  important differences.


Dogs are more likely going to suffer from hypothyroidism, and it is usually due to auto immune disease. Some breeds, such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers are at higher risk, but it can affect dogs of any age or breed. 


Annual screening is recommended in all dogs, but especially in those who are showing signs of

  • lethargy, 
  • poor hair coat, 
  • slow heart rate, 
  • seeking heat or cool, and
  •  weight gain.  


The screening test starts with a Total Thyroid level (known as TT4),and if the levels are abnormally low, then we confirm it via a Free T4 by equilibrium and TSH blood test (done on the original blood sample). 


These dogs go on to live normal lives on thyroid medication.


Dogs with hyperthyroidism  pets age is usually secondary to thyroid carcinoma, which whilst rare, is a devastating cancer.  Therapies are available, but are not always effective.


Hypothyroidism in cats is rare, and usually occurs secondary to complications to treatment for hyperthyroidism (the radioactive iodine therapy). 


However, the most common hormonal condition in cats who are older than 12 years, is hyperthyroidism (which is what George has).  


Annual screening is recommended in all cats older than 12 years. 


Treatment options include radioactive iodine therapy (with a 95% chance of cure), or daily medications.


This Annual screening is called the Total Annual Health Profile, and costs only  $120.00.  Results are available within 24 hours. 


Ask us about getting this blood test done at your next vet visit, or book it in now - call 42845988 or book online or email (hit reply to this enews).  

The Itchy Bottom - All About Scooting!
Those of us who have dogs, have seen at some point or another, the "scoot".  The bum is on the ground, and the dog just drags it along.  And it is even more exciting (not) when it happens on the new carpet in front of the mother in law! 

The reasons why dogs may scoot include 
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea worms
  • foreign bodies (string/ bones/other objects)
  • anal gland disease
  • flea tapeworm
  • food allergy
  • hair clipped too short 

Things you can do at home to help include

  • Ensure your pet's intestinal worming is up to date, (done in the past two weeks) AND that it includes flea tapeworm (not all wormers include this)
  • Check your dog's poop (self explanatory)
  • Consider adding fibre to your pet's diet - we suggest psyllium husks or metamucil. 
  • Stop the feeding of bones or other toys that your pet usually chews up. 

At this point, if it continues to be a problem, then a vet visit is needed to check the anal glands. 


We charge $25.00 to check, and express, your pet's anal glands. (and deodorise afterwards)


Or you can learn to do it yourself if you like - Go here - but it is a dirty and smelly job so be prepared for that.  

In my opinion - A dog training collar warning

Piper is now six months old - and it feels like she has been part of the family forever.  

After her sessions with puppy preschool, she is now ready for Big Dog Classes.  This has proved an interesting experience for Tegan and Piper. 

There are many different dog classes available in Wollongong, and all of them claim to use positive reinforcement. 

Yet two of the classes Tegan attended had a requirement that Piper wear the soft check chain (pictured on the left).  The use of this collar is not positive reinforcement, and has no place in any positive reinforcement training classes.

Any training technique that requires a noise that is going to scare the dog into behaving is not positive reinforcement. This is an underhanded way to still use the old training methods of physically pushing the dog into position, and then using the collar and verbal praise. 

And as Piper is reactive to noises, this type of collar is only going to increase her anxiety and stress, as it would any other dog who is noise sensitive.

At least 30% of dogs suffer from noise anxiety, and these collars and this type of training will only make them worse. And when they get worse, the owner is usually blamed, rather than the technique (and this is wrong too). 

Teethies are important - Look after them


We have FOUR dental packages at Russell Vale Animal Clinic, and thankfully, I rarely have to use the higher two levels.  But sadly, last month I had to perform full mouth extractions on two of my patients, who had end stage dental disease - the disease was that bad.  Both have recovered well, and are thankful to their new owners for caring. 

This didn't have to happen if care was taken throughout the pet's life.  I have many pets who have had  regular dental work, and who have kept most of their teeth (healthy teeth) into their senior years. 

As a vet who wants happy and healthy pets, it all starts with a healthy mouth. 

For more information on how to keep your pet's mouth healthy, visit our Dental page.

Our $249# Dental Xray, Scale and Polish is for our Grade 2 dental patients. It includes up to FOUR dental Xrays, a full general anaesthetic, antibiotic and pain relief injection, a professional scaling (including periodontal therapy if needed). 

Our $170 package is ideal for our younger patients that have early stages of gingivitis and tartar build up. It includes up to TWO dental Xrays too. 

Call us on 42845988 to book your pet for their FREE dental check if in doubt, or book your pet in directly to get their teeth cleaned and assessed professionally. 

#for dogs/cats up to 15 kg
Till next time

We thank you for your ongoing support and referrals of your friends and family to our veterinary hospital.  


The ongoing success of Russell Vale Animal Clinic is due to all of you. We cannot continue to operate without you and your pets choosing Russell Vale Animal Clinic as your pet's family vet.  That is something that I appreciate very much. 



Till next time....


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

 ava member logo
In This Issue
Introducing George
Winter Preparations
Sore Ears Help!
Pain & Behaviour
Itchy Bottoms?
Collar Warning!
Teethies are important
Million Paws Walk
Healthy Mouth
For Fun
Family Photos
Dr Liz in Perth
Free Online Consultations
By Appointment Only!
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


Every pet deserves a Healthy Mouth




Healthy Mouth is an all natural water additive that will reduce plaque build up on your pet's teeth, and will improve your pet's overall oral hygiene. 


It is available for both dogs and cats.


Healthy Mouth Dog is available in 250 ml ($61.95) and 500 ml ($96.85) sizes.


Healthy Mouth Cat is available in 250 ml sizes ($61.95).


It has the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council ) Seal of approval.


 Go here for more products which have the VOHC approval.



For Fun!

Too right!  


Some of our recent visitors

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

We are also now on Instagram and Pinterest (Russellvalevet) 








Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on Google+Visit my blog 
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. 






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.


By Appointment Only

A reminder that  we operate by appointment only.

We wouldn't want you falling asleep waiting to see Dr Liz! 
An appointment would be appreciated.


We know that most of you do make appointments, but we are seeing an increase of walk-ins during our busy Saturday mornings, and between 11 am and 3 pm (our surgery/house call time).


We try to allot at least 20 minutes per visit, but we do not like to keep people waiting for long either. 


As we are fully operational veterinary hospital, we perform a wide range of surgery procedures, as well as have hospital patients needing ongoing medical care. 


Appointments can be made via

1. Txt - 0401348849 your preferred date and time

2. Booking online - This is available 24/7.

  online booking

3. Calling us on 42 845 988 to speak with Dirk or Tegan (our nurses to make a time).

4. Email us on or


True Emergencies will always be seen first, and we try to help whenever it is possible to do so.