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For Happy, Healthy Pets... Always
Healthy Joints & Wee!
June & July  2014

russellvalevet @ gmail. com




I am so sorry that there was no official "June" newsletter, but I promise a packed July edition instead.  Set yourself down with a nice cup of tea or your favourite beverage, and enjoy. 


This newsletter is all about urinary problems (wee), keeping  joints healthy, and some information about our puppy classes starting up again, AND, of course,  information on our upcoming Open Day (party). 



There is a lot more in this newsletter, so read on, and share it too with your friends.




Yours & Thank You!


Dr Liz 
PS This is our third year of Animail Tails online, and back issues are available online.
 Updates on our (Prince) George


If you haven't been following our Facebook or the Bellambi vets blog, or you are new to Russell Vale Animal Clinic, then you would have not heard the story of George. 

  Look at our handsome George who is now a whopping 3.6 kg...he was 2.8 kg w

Visit our Bellambivets blog for the full story.  We also shared "A Sunday Story" too, which talks about a Sunday when George scared me. 



George came in on the 29th of March weighing just 2.8 kg with overgrown nails.  He now weighs in at 3.65 kg, and is tolerating his medication to treat his hyperthyroidism well, and he just loves his Feline j/d.   


On some days he walks reasonably well, and on others... well, he looks old.


He spends his time either sunbaking in the backyard, exploring the

The three muskateers - George the cat, Piper the Kellie and Scooby the chi

 carpark, or sleeping in his bed. 


Occasionally he ventures our into the waiting room to meet any dogs that come in.  He and Pandora have an "understanding", although they  are not "sleeping buddies". 



Pets can start house fires too! Accidentally.

You need to be aware that our pets can very easily start a house fire.  What steps are you taking to prevent this from happening to you?

1. Candles and Curiosity
  • Pets will investigate open flames.  
  • Cats can tip candles over
  • Always supervise  around candles  
2. Electrical Cables
  • "Baby proof" your home from the teethies of chewing puppies and playful cats
  • Crate your pet when you aren't at home or use baby gates 
3. Stoves
  • "Pet proof" your stove top knobs!
  • Did you know that stoves are the number one piece of equipment involved in starting a fire? 
4. Drying clothes and Heaters!
  • Drying clothes in front of a heater and our petsPet Smoke Alarm do not mix!  


General Tips:

  •  Check smoke detectors  
  • Have your Home Escape plan that includes your pets (and PRACTICE IT)
  • Keep all of your pet's identification up to date including a collar and tag  
  • Put a sticker on your front window to alert firemen that there are pets inside   

Do you have your House Escape Plan?

Visit the NSW Fire Brigade website for how to make a House Escape Plan, and make sure it includes your pets too.

At Russell Vale Animal Clinic, we offer FREE short term boarding for your pet during any natural emergency (such as flood or fire).

Our website does have a pet "checklist" for you, as well as how to make up a First Aid kit.

Visit here.

A "wee" problem



Urinary problems in our pets have been on the increase in the last few months.  I honestly do not know why that is.  I am blaming the weather (it is as good as any other reason I can come up with). 


We are seeing cats who are struggling to wee or weeing in unusual places (or passing blood), and dogs who want to wee all the time, but only small puddles.  


Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease is a common, but complex problem. It is not always due to a bacterial infection, but can be due to a combination of factors such as  

  • stress
  • inactivity
  • being indoors
  • overweight
  • dietary (i.e not drinking enough).
  • unhappy with the kitty litter provided 

In dogs, bacterial urinary tract infections are common, and can also be associated with bladder stones (pictured)  


The signs you will notice are

frequent weeing  

sometimes blood, and sometimes no blood will be visible (but can be seen on testing)

straining to urinate 



Further testing - 

  • A urine sample is always needed to be tested for any evidence of blood, protein, glucose and we always check the  pH level too.  
  • The urine sample is then spun down to check for crystals and blood
  • The sediment is stained to check for bacteria.
  • Finally, we may submit the urine sample to a pathology laboratory for a Culture and Sensitivity (essential if a urinary tract infection is suspected, as we need to know what is the right antibiotic to use).

How do you collect a urine sample?   


Well, Dirk has written a handy info sheet. Visit our handouts page on our website. But do not despair - bring your pet in with a full bladder and let Dirk do his magic.  Dirk is our "urine collecting" champion! 


Emergency Advice for Urinary Problems
cat sq fluids
Obstructed Cats can get very very sick!


As well all know, it is usually on a Saturday afternoon or late in the evening when we may notice a problem with our pets.  And whilst most urinary problems are not a life threatening emergency, you will need to get them in to see me as soon as you can.


An ideal opportunity to take advantage of the free online consults (although the advice would be to collect a urine sample and drop it in).  


So what can you do till you can get them in to see us?  


For cats:

  • Stop all dry food and feed only wet food  
  • allow multiple sources of water - consider  a water fountain too (our cat Dash, loves to drink out of the shower box)
  • Identify and eliminate the stressor (we use alot of Feliway when our cats start to show signs of problems)

For dogs  

  • Feed wet food only  
  • Add Vitamin C  (it won't hurt but it might help) - in small dogs give 100 mg three times a day,  and in large dogs,  give 250 - 500 mg three times a day.   

In all pets, a vet consultation is needed, as we need to identify the cause of the urinary problem and if needed, treat the infection or remove the stones.  


A Very Important Note for Male Cats and Dogs:

These guys can get "obstructed" - that is, they try to pass a bladder stone, which then gets stuck in the urethra.  




If your pet cannot wee at all, this is an emergency, and you need immediate veterinary attention.   



Crate Training Tips for Dogs!
This is what a "crate" should be - a dog's own "safe" spot























 Should all dogs be "crate" trained"?  


A few years ago, I would've said "No", but in recent months (with Piper joining our family), the fact that she had a "crate"  helped alot when we needed to confine her after her pelvic surgery.  


Puppies who are "crate" trained are also easier to house train, are less destructive in the house, and it appears, overall happier.     


Crate training is not locking your dog up for hours on end in a square box - it is giving your dog its own "bedroom" or "safe haven", so it can sleep, chill out, zone out - with no interference from kids or other pets!.   


Some helpful tips to help you get started

  • put the crate in a safe, quiet, draught free place  
  • Line the crate with comfortable bedding 
  • Make sure the door is open during the training sessions
  • do not lock the door at all in the early stages 
  • We recommend spraying the crate daily with Adaptil spray
  • Feed your pet in the crate  
  • The end goal of crate training your dog is for them to know it is their "safe place" or "safe haven"




While Piper is away at #dog training guess who decided to play squatter!Pusski of course. Sneaky #cat .
And one of our cat's Pusski - agrees -
Even not in the crate, Pusski loves to hog the dog bed! Cat's rule!

Training for Calm - Prepare for the Storm Season



 Storm season  (and fireworks too), are a few months away, and NOW, is the time to help your pet cope.   


When we are in the middle of almost daily thunderstorms, training your pet to be calm is not going to be possible, and relying on drugs to do so.... well, it is necessary, but not ideal. 


 For more detailed information, read it on my blog. 


Piper, our dog, is very noise sensitive (unfortunately), but we were able to desensitize her to thunderstorms and fireworks, so we know it is possible if you start your prevention program early, rather than waiting to see if they grow out of it) 


 Some helpful hints

  • Start with lots of Adaptil (for dogs) or Feliway (for cats). We now stock Adaptil Collars for dogs, which we recommend in all anxious dogs.  
  • Have a CD of calming music - classical music works well
  • Have your pet's favourite toy or treat at hand!  
  • Crate train or have a "safe haven" area for your pet - make this place the "best place ever" 


Understand the language of "anxiety" in your dog or cat
Anxious cats
  • hide
  • pee or poop in strange places
  • hide
  • will still purr or groom themselves in front of you, as this is their way of trying to calm themselves down. 

Anxious dogs

  • lick their lips
  • tip their ears back
  • tuck their tail under
  • drop their head
  • but they may still wag their tail as if they are happy (this is them trying to calm themselves down when all of the other signals are saying they are anxious)  


Product Info - Anti-arthritis Injections

Synovan is labelled "a new breed of arthritis management" as it is a unique combination of the tried and true Pentosan Polyslphate, and acetyl glucosamine.

Many of you might be familiar with Cartrophen or Zydax.  Synovan is similar to these.
Synovan is given as a weekly injection for four weeks, and then thdog jointe pet receives a "booster" as often as they need it.

For mild signs of arthritis, each pet will need one series for four injections each year.

For moderate signs - we recommend a series of four injections each six months, OR one series of four injections and then a single booster each three months.

For those who suffer from severe arthritis , we recommend one series of four injections PLUS a single booster injection each 1-2 months.

Some pets may also benefit from addition of further medications also (such as Meloxicam, Carprofen, Previcox or Trocoxil).

Our dog Piper, who doesn't have arthritis now is currently on Synovan injections to PREVENT her from developing it (as she is high risk of it with her hip dysplasia).  To find out more about why Piper needs injections, visit here.
Buying Pet products from the Supermarket
Our pet products are Piper and Pandora tested!

Every day I get asked what is the best wormer, the best flea stuff, the best food - to buy from the supermarket.

It is certainly not a question I like being asked, especially as we sell the best intestinal worming, the best flea stuff and the best food. But in all fairness, it is something I did investigate.

The answer is quite detailed, so I blogged it instead.

To find out what the best pet products are to buy from the supermarket, go here.

AVA Conference Wrap Up




The Perth vet conference was all about "Best Practice, and I tweeted, blogged and instagrammed whilst I was away. 


I attended seminars on  

  • appropriate age for desexing
  • how to talk to clients and teamwork
  • ethical discussion on end of life and palliative care
  • future of the veterinary profession (is there a future?)
  • home dental programs  
  • Advanced dental techniques
  • Frustrating forelimb lamenesses
  • Reducing anxiety and stress in our pets  

just to name a few of the sessions and themes that I attended.  


Whilst I was away, I also wrote several posts for Vetanswers about the conference, and have them shared internationally on DVM360 (an American veterinary resource), and on the Australian Veterinary Association website too.  


As for the trip back?  



The Indian Pacific was alot of fun, and it reinforced my belief that we live in a very beautiful, very diverse country.   



A useless fact: The lighthouse at Cape Leewin was built the same year as the building you and I know as Russell Vale Animal Clinic (different architect though).  I just love old buildings - if only the walls could talk! One day is not enough to experience this beautiful southern part of #westernaustralia .  Visited where the two oceans meet. They were friendly to each other.  I was fascinated to see that the lighthouse was built in the same year as the building that hous 


opendayA Thank You Party
(and Open Day)


 The date is set for the biggest party (we hope) to hit the Northern Suburbs in a while.


It is FREE, it is our way of saying "Thank You" for supporting us all these years (or if you are new, for being part of the animalclinic family).


And we are excited!  


Saturday, 13th of September, 2014


Starting from 10 am to around 2 pm


And it is going to be bigger, better and brighter than before.  


This year, we are going to get up close and personal with our animals, with the help of Get Wild and our Farmyard Nursery.  


Get up close to snakes, lizards, spiders and even a BABY CROC!  


The farmyard nursery has the usual baby pigs, cows, a kid or two, lambs all hungry and needing little people to feed them.  


Jumping Castle, and Free food and drink - what a better way to spend with the family!



More information here. and watch out for upcoming newsletters for reminders.




Till next time

Feel free to share our Animail Tails with your pet loving friends, as you know I try to make it practical, helpful and universal.  If you have any suggestions or ideas, just hit reply, and let me know.  


We appreciate the positive feedback - as you can guess, our newsletter is 100% pure home spun.   


Don't forget that your family photos of your pets are always welcome, and we will happily add them to our online animalclinic family album.


Till next time....


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

In This Issue
Updates on the Prince
Pet Fire Safety
A "wee" problem
Emergency Wee Advice
Anti-arthritis Injections
Vet Conference Wrap Up
You're Invited to a Party
FREE Arthritis Checks
Funny Loca
Puppy Classes are back!
For Fun
George on the Move!
Yummy Pet Treats!
Family Photos
A Blog Update!
Free Online Consultations
By Appointment Only!
freejointcheckFREE arthritis checks


Book your Pet in now!



All of you know that we offer FREE Dental checks all year round.  At any time that you feel your pet's breath is a bit wiffy or you need a helping hand on brushing them, or to find out the best way to keep them healthy, just give us a call.


BUT, this winter, we are offering FREE Arthritis check ups for all dogs and cats, no matter what age they are.  It is up to you on whether we are able to offer this all year round - if it is popular and a valuable service, it will be like our dental checks (available all year), however, if only one or two of you take advantage of it, then we will reserve it for the winter months only.  


We have seen dogs as young as six months with arthritic changes, so it isn't always an old pet disease.  


Our FREE arthritis checks are "By Appointment" as they are with a vet, which is me (Dr Liz).   


What will we do?  

  • We will examine all of your pet's joints for range of motion, crepitus, and swelling
  • We will watch how they walk and run. 
  • We will examine the muscles for any tears or atrophy


It doesn't stop there...
  • We will give you a "worksheet" of what the examination showed - good and bad
  • And if needed, we will put together a home exercise plan to improve your pet's muscle strength and mobility.

Want some more information or ideas on home exercises for your pet?  Visit our 'All About Joints" page on our website, which has recently been updated. At the bottom of the page are handouts on "Everyday Joint care" (to prevent joint damage), and "Advanced Joint care (to heal damaged joints).  


Book your appointment online  OR  


Book Now different logo
Select - A Free Arthritis Check

   Call us on 42 845 988  


Funny Loca!
Loca the Pug singing......'The pug that couldn't run'
Loca the Pug singing......'The pug that couldn't run'


Puppy Classes are back!


  Look at the beautiful puppies _ all nine of them. All came in for their ve


Planning is underway for Puppy Classes to come back to Russell Vale Animal Clinic.  


A few little known facts.... 


  • Dr Liz was the first veterinarian to run Puppy Preschool back in 1992 (at Crown Street Veterinary Hospital) after hearing about it at the AVA Annual Conference in Adelaide.
  • Dr Liz has helped many other veterinary hospitals establish theirs.
  • Tegan has a Certificate in Animal Behaviour, and also has a Psychology degree.  

Between Dr Liz and Tegan, we aim to run a modern, "best practice" puppy socialisation program, unlike anything Wollongong has ever seen before. 


Thanks to Piper, we realised that we really missed puppy classes. 


We are planning on a September starting date, so if you know anyone who is intending on getting a puppy, please think of us.  





For Fun






Our Award Update




We were awarded "Highly Commended" in the Illawarra Women in Business Awards earlier this year.


And thanks to your votes, we are also Finalist in the Local Business Awards. The winners are to be announced in August 2014.   



As a way of saying "Thank You" to our community, we are having a "Thank You Party" (and Open Day) on Saturday 13th of September, 2014.   


More information below or visit here.

George is on the move!
Old George - getting stronger
Old George - getting stronger

Sharing a video of George taken early June 2014 - enjoying the outdoors!  

He is getting stronger, he enjoys his food, his sleeps and going outdoors!  




Good Dog Cookies


Winter is a perfect month for cooking - and our pets deserve a treat too!

2.5 cups whole wheat flour
0.75 cup non fat dry milk powder
1 egg beaten
0.5 cup vegetable oil
2 cubes beef stock cube
0.75 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • Heat oven to 150 degrees celsius
  • Lightly grease a cookie tray
  • Dissolve the beef stock cubes in boiling water and allow to cool
  • Combine the flour, dry milk, egg, oil, broth and brown sugar. Mix well and knead dough for 1 minute
  • On a floured surface, roll out the dough to quarter inch thickeness. Cut out your "bone" shapes and place on a cookie tray
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Allow to cool!


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) 
Scooby at his sleepover with us


I am at a rest stop south of #perth on my bus tour and guess what I spotted. A little girl called Max. Pet withdrawal symptoms abated for now. One of the hard parts of conferences - usually no animals to hug and hold. #vetshelpingpets #vet life
Max - a little girl I scared south of Perth... someone mentioned the V E T word!


'I'm safe in here' thinks Onyx, watching whilst his sister gets a full vet
Onyx "I'm safe in here"


Who could resist this cool dude. Meet Ralph who has doggles to protect his eyes.
Ralph with his doggles. One cool dude! 

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



One of our more recent posts explains why there is a photo of Piper on a bed with her bottom half shaved, and her head in an "Elizabethan collar" .  Check it out here.  


Some other posts which may interest you are





freeonlineconsultsFree 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.