animalclinic logo facebook paw twitter paw
For Happy, Healthy Pets... Always
Ticks, Venom, George
and our Open Day!
August  2014

russellvalevet @ gmail. com




A Big Thank YOU to all of you who voted for us in the Local Business Awards. 


We are one of the five finalists in the Pet Care category, and we are up against tough competition. 


At each award night, I am inspired by the stories of other small business owners, and we expect to be similarly so inspired this Wednesday night.


Now onto the best party of the year (on Bellambi Lane anyway).... Our Open Day in September will only be as good as the people who come along. So please come along. A party alone is never fun.  This year, our theme is "Thank You to the neighbourhood". It is our way of saying Thank You to all of you for choosing Russell Vale Animal Clinic as your pet's vet.


Please come along, even for a short while.  We would really love to see you there.



Dr Liz


PS  I will be twittering through the awards night. You can either follow @theonlypandora or search for #rvac.

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 and  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 at 10 am to go 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.


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



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


Thanks Karen from Café 2U - She was there in 2013, and will be coming back in 2014!

Cafe2U are coming back for the best coffee in town, and we are providing nibblies so no one starves during this fun filled reptile & animal  themed day.


More information here.



From our 2013 Pandora's Birthday Party Open Day -

We all had fun, and this year it is going to be even better.


We made the news!

Thank you to all  of you who emailed, rang and spoke with me about what the Illawarra Mercury published recently. 

Thank you to those who called or emailed concerned about the welfare of Pandora, George and our hospitalised patients.


In all of the break ins this year they never made it into the vet side, just the flat at the back. Whenever we do have overnight visitors, either Dirk or I stay at the vets, or they come home with us - so they will always be safe.


And no, we have no immediate plans to leave this beautiful area (despite the actions of a few).  

 You can read the full story here.


The Venom Program

 If you want a fun day out, why not visit the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby? Always a fun (never boring knowing Sydney drivers) drive, with excitement at the other end.  For more information, visit


Did you know that more than 300 snakes and 500 spiders are regularly "milked" for the vital stuff that can save our lives if we are bitten?


As I like to keep things simple, I prefer not to get bitten so I don't need the magic stuff to fix me up... so I share these tips with you.


How not to get bitten:

  • Don't leave clothes, shoes, towels etc on the floor
  • Check your shoes before putting them on
  • Do not walk about at night without footwear
  • Do not handle spiders that appear to have drowned in pools, buckets etc (especially important for those of us with pools, who will be cleaning them heading into summer)
  • Wear gloves when gardening or working outside

(Reference -


Venom program saving lives!

Venom program saving lives!


The vet side of reptile life!
  • frog Reptilian heart rates vary according to body temperature, size, metabolic state, respiratory state and the absence/presence of painful stimuli


  • Snake, lizard and chelonian hearts are 3 chambered; crocodilians are 4 chambered (compared to mammals who are 4 chambered)


  • Heart rates are not usually able to be detected by auscultation (i.e cannot use a stethoscope)


  • Capillary refill time is not usually assessed in reptiles (i.e we can't "check the gums" like we do our cats and dogs)



  •  Location of the heart varies among lizards from cranial body cavity at the level of the shoulders (skinks, dragons, iguanas) to almost the middle of the body (monitors). In snakes the cardiac position varies depending upon the habits of the snake, with arboreal snakes having the most cranial position, terrestrial snakes more caudal, and aquatic snakes in almost mid body position.


  • Most snakes other than boids only possess a right lung.turtle


  • Snakes do not have eyelids


  • Pain perception in reptiles is likely to be the same as in mammals (and us)

Reference: "Anaesthesia and Surgery of Reptiles" Dr Robert Johnson, South Penrith Veterinary Clinic 2013 AVA Regional Conference 2013 Leura


Dr Johnson is also also co author on "A Guide to Health and Disease in Reptiles and Amphibians " which can purchased directly from South Penrith Veterinary Clinic or online at

 Emergency Care of Wildlife


 As we are heading into Spring.... and with the birds and the bees, we are are going to start seeing injured or baby wildlife. We all want to do the right thing, so here some tips.


1. Don't Panic

2. Stabilise the patient

3. Act fast by going slow


  • The principles of First Aid that we all know equally apply to the smaller animals - Know your A B C (Airway, Breathing, Circulation).  Take your pulse first, before you treat the pet, and Don't Panic!


  • Stress is a killer, so handle minimally (be organised prior to handling), examine efficiently, and gently.


  • Prioritise the procedures that need to be done

Common First Aid Scenarios:



The Blue Tongue with a Dog/Cat Bite


A small puncture wound may not be an accurate indicator of the extent of the injuries.


Many injuries can be treated (surgery).  Place the lizard into a cardboard box and transfer it to your closest vet for assessment and treatment.


The squashed turtle

On the Eastern seabord, the Common Eastern Long-Necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is the most common trauma victim. Males can be all year, and females often during late spring and early summer.


All injured females should be radiographed to identify if eggs present, and if so, will need medication to induce egg laying.


Shells are repaired using a variety of techniques, from wiring to dental composites.



The flying fox with a torn flight membrane

Care should be taken as only those who are vaccinated against Rabies should be handling flying foxes.   There is a serious human health risk here, and we refer all flying foxes to a vaccinated handler.


 For further information on care of injured birds and possums, visit our Wildlife Helping Hands page on our website (under Sick Pet Helpers). Go here.


Piper's New Hips


Piper is now 9 months old, and geez... its been eventful.


Find out more about her first six months here.


She had pelvic surgery in June 2014, and we had to keep her crated for six weeks. Do you know how hard that is?  Well, we know you do... and it is possible, with the help of drugs and training!


Recently, she had her follow up check up, and she passed! Yeah! Back to (almost) normal activity!


A new vet show....Village Vets


Our beautiful Shoalhaven area is featured in the new vet show, Village Vets. At the time of posting this newsletter, we are up to Episode 2 of the first series of six episodes.


It may seem strange, but my family and I love to watch vet shows - some are realistic, and some are just there for entertainment only.  We are only up to Episode 2 with Village Vets so I don't quite know what I think of the show overall.


There are some amazing shots of our beautiful Shoalhaven area, so for this alone, it is worth watching!


 I would be keen to hear what you think of it. Why not email me with your thoughts (hit reply on this newsletter)


Lifestyle Channel - Village Vets






Get appdated on us


Do not forget to choose Russell Vale Animal Clinic as your preferred vet to be able to access all of the features of the app. 


And best of all, it is free for you.


The PocketVet App:

We are in our third year with PocketVet, and have over 100 subscribers (which is a lot, but still means a lot of you haven't downloaded it yet).  So get cracking!   



For Iphone/Ipad/Ipod users visit here


For Android users visit here.


I love the "My Pets" feature, where I have put in photos and information on each of my fur-babies.  I can even set up reminders for their flea, worming and vaccinations too.


If they go missing (which they haven't so far), I can easily report them as Lost, and a notification will be sent to all other PocketVet users.  One less stress when a furbaby has gone missing!



The First Aid App: 

The First Aid App is Australian written for Australian conditions


For Ipad/iphone visit here:


For Android phone/tablet visit here:





Now an app which I have you will never need:


The Resting Respiratory App


To get this app, visit here:


Coughing dogs are one of the hardest conditions to diagnose effectively - simply because the coughing can be due to the pulmonary (lungs/throat) or cardiac (heart) systems.


And it can be due to the combined cardiopulmonary systems, and then once you have isolated it to one or the other (or both), you then need to find out which disease process is causing it (is it a bacterial, viral or fungal infection, foreign body, cancer (primary or secondary), allergic, wear/tear (age), trauma or other damage.


What we do know is that measuring the resting respiratory rate, we can effectively identify (and head off) impending Congestive Heart Failure.


We recommend this app to all of our patients who are on cardiac medication, and we get all pet owners of coughing dogs to measure this also.




Tick Alert

Be prepared.... tick season starts now according to the  Disease Watchdog.


Paralysis tick affects all animals (other than the Bandicoot) along the Eastern Seabord.


We have been pulling ticks of dogs already, and there are reports of Tick Poisoning cases already.


Be alert!


If you have used topical tick preventatives, you need to increase the application to fortnightly.


If you have used tick collars in the past, make sure your pet has a fresh one, and change it regularly.


We find that the best preventatives are your two hands, checking your pet over on a twice daily.




Till next time

At last year's open day, some said to me that they weren't sure whether they should come or not, but they were glad that they did, as most stayed for a few hours (yes, it was fun).


As you have read, we have had a bad year with break ins, but we still want to thank those of you who, throughout the years, have supported Russell Vale Animal Clinic through thick and thin.


So pencil the day in, and come along (we promise some great prizes this year too).


Till next time....


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

In This Issue
You're Invited to a Party
We made the news!
Venom Program
Wildlife First Aid
Piper's New Hips
Village Vets
Our George
FREE Arthritis Checks
FREE Dental Checks
For Fun
Family Photos
A Blog Update!
Free Online Consultations
By Appointment Only!
Updates on our Prince George


I can't believe it has been 4 months since George came into our vet hospital. And boy, he is improving (slowly).


george He is such a gentle boy, and loves to say hallo to many dog visitors (although some dogs may think it is an unfair tease as they are on the lead!)

He is old, and he won't live forever - but we are happy that we have given him so far a happier life than what he had in the few months/years prior to coming in. 


I will always stand by the statement that "age is not a disease", and whilst  George has a treatable condition (Hyperthyroidism and Joint disease), we will continue to treat him.




For Fun!

Funny Reptiles

Funny Reptiles
Funny Reptiles

A bit of light reptilian humour - obviously photoshopped but fun nonetheless.


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  


freejointcheckFREE dental Checks
August is National

Pet Dental Month

Book your Pet in now!


 To find out more about what happens at a dental check, you can read about it here.



Book your appointment online  OR  


Book Now different logo

Select - A Free Dental Check

(and we can do the arthritis check the same time too)

   Call us on 42 845 988  


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 More Fun






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) 
Look at beautiful Harley who just loooooves coming in to see us. He knows the drill.. He jumps on the scales, then on the chair and onto the consultation table ( which he thinks is magical as it produces liver treats). He had a #corneal ulcer which has he
Harley loves coming in to see us!
Meet our first time visitor Buckley who smiles on cue! Such a beautiful model of the perfect angel but he fiddled so much during his check up thinking it was #doggie play. #vets at work.
Look at our first time visit, Buckley, who always smiles for the camera



Ooh look at Bon who had his first visit with me today. He was so happy that I took 20 photos of him and this is the least blurry of them all. A very busy active happy man.
An impatient Bon (I did promise some liver treats, and was not fast enough)



Its a problem suffered by #vets and their children. A universal problem suffered by many. It matter where we go, we will always find animals. My beautiful daughters Tegan and Paige with #cats and #dogs at Myer.

Well, these aren't real animals, but we just loved these cushions from Myer

with Tegan and Paige  


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



 Did you know that not only do I write my own blog, I also guest blog also for other veterinary websites? 


 My goal is to share our love of animals, the veterinary profession, and to help pet owners look after their pets.


You, the pet owners who visit us at the vets are often my inspiration for the posts.  As an example, many of my most popular posts,  such as "What are the best pet products at the supermarket", and "What pain relief can I use at home" were inspired by your questions.


Never be frightened to ask me any question on anything. You can do that through email, calling, visiting, or through our free online vet consults (see section below).


Some Recent Posts:


 I went on a trip down memory lane, sharing the first time I blogged (in 2005) about Indy.

Read More here:


 I gave some tips on choosing the right puppy class. Read More here:


 Give your dog a bone? or not! Read More here:


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.