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PHONE: (07) 4773 4111EMAIL: staff@wsvc.com.auWORKING HOURS: MON-FRI: 8am - 6pm | SAT: 8am - 5pm


WE CARE

Your First Choice For Quality Veterinary Care in Townsville


OUR SERVICES



EMERGENCY


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In the event of an emergency, please telephone the clinic to let us know the problem so we can prepare for your arrival, and prioritise services for your pet with a minimum of delay.

Please try and stay calm to give us as much information as possible so we can give you the best advice.

If your animal has ingested a potential poison, please bring along the package so we can discover the exact composition of the ingredients and their concentration.



CONSULTATIONS


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Please telephone to make an appointment.

We need a carefully arranged schedule of consultation appointments to enable us to meet our clients’ expectations, keep waiting time to a minimum and create an orderly working environment.

If you have a seriously ill animal, or one that is potentially aggressive or very vocal, please let us know in advance so that we can arrange to make your visit as stress free as possible.

Dogs
In the interests of you and your pet’s safety, please restrain your dog with a collar and lead. If you do not have a leash, we can provide one.

Cats
To avoid a disaster, please ensure your cat is brought to us in an escape proof container. Blankets or cardboard boxes are no match for a wriggly cat! We can loan a safe carrier if required (we do require a small refundable deposit).



VACCINATIONS


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We recommend full vaccination of dogs and cats to prevent serious infectious diseases.

We send regular reminders for routine vaccinations. Your pet will receive a full health check at the time of vaccination.

If you have any questions, worries or concerns please ask any of our friendly staff for further information.

Dogs

Is annual vaccination still important?
The simple answer is YES!
The diseases we use core vaccines to prevent are Canine Parvovirus, Distemper and Adenoviral hepatitis. These diseases are usually fatal and the risk of adverse effects from vaccination is very small. Therefore a risk/benefit analysis is very straight-forward!

How does immunity work?
The immune system is complex, but essentially there are 3 main mechanisms of resistance to disease.
Innate immunity or inherent resistance, which is unfortunately of little help against these important diseases, even in the best fed healthy animal.
Antibody mediated immunity, induced by exposure to viruses and by vaccination. These antibody levels can be measured in a blood sample, but this is costly and does not provide the whole answer as far as protection level against natural disease is concerned.
Cell mediated immunity which cannot be measured in a blood sample and is a vital defence mechanism induced by vaccination and natural exposure.

How do vaccines work?
Vaccination protection has two important aspects.
Protection of the individual – modern vaccines provide excellent protection against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis in the face of infection challenge.
Herd protection – this is a forgotten aspect of vaccination. Essentially, if more animals in a population are vaccinated, the disease risk is less because the quantity of virus in the environment and number of diseased animals decreases. In fact, if all susceptible individuals are vaccinated the disease risk reduces to nil. Amazingly, smallpox in humans and rinderpest in cattle have been eliminated from the planet by vaccination programs.
Obviously we are never going to get to that utopian state with parvovirus! The reason why some unvaccinated dogs do not get infections is because their owners are relying on herd immunity provided by those responsible owners who do vaccinate!
In human medicine, we are seeing the consequences of decreasing uptake of vaccination – the incidence of measles and whooping cough in some communities is increasing and tragically there have been some infant mortalities from preventable diseases.

But what about the risks?
The fact is that some vocal individuals have exaggerated the risk associated with vaccination and seem to have forgotten the fact that these core diseases will kill most infected dogs.

There is always a small risk associated with any mediation or vaccine, but let’s put this in perspective.

The situation in Australia is analogous to that in the UK, where in a 5 year analysis from 2005 to 2010 there were an average of 18 adverse reported reactions per 100,000 doses of vaccine sold. When you consider that many of these reactions are mild lethargy, inappetance or mild swelling at the injection site, it reinforces the fact that vaccination is extremely safe.

Annual vaccination?
We still recommend annual vaccination because parvovirus is endemic in Queensland and more recent strains are even more virulent than those we have seen previously. Just recently, I saw a fit, healthy 1 year old cattle dog that died within 24 hours of developing symptoms of parvovirus. This particular dog never left the fenced property so we can only conclude that the virus must have been brought in on shoes, clothing or car tyres.

There is a lack of studies involving extended vaccination interval in the “field” situation (ie real life outside the laboratory) in endemic areas and world experts are still divided on the wisdom of extended interval vaccination.

It is also important that we give a thorough appraisal of your dog’s health status on a yearly basis, as this
provides the opportunity to detect any problems before they become serious and may extend your pet’s life by many years. It is important to ensure that your dog is healthy and likely to have an efficient immune system capable of responding effectively to vaccination.

Are puppies more vulnerable?
Yes. Young pups are at a critical stage until 16 weeks of age.

They are born with an immature immune system and have passive immunity which is protection from a temporary supply of antibodies from their mother’s placenta and milk (if mum has been vaccinated!). Vaccination from 6 to 8 weeks of age with 3 vaccines at monthly intervals will give optimum protection during this critical time and enable them to safely meet other pups at puppy preschool and develop social skills.

How can I give my dog maximum protection?
We have vast experience in the practical application of vaccines and their impact on animal health, so we
recommend an annual health check and vaccination against the important infectious diseases of dogs.

At the end of the day, we know that what we do is as safe as possible and works!

Cats

Is annual vaccination still important?
The simple answer is YES!

The diseases we use core vaccines to prevent are feline panleucopaenia (Feline Parvovirus ) and the cat flu viruses (Feline Calicivirus and Feline Herpes Virus – 1 ). These diseases can be fatal and are always debilitating. The risk of adverse effects from vaccination is very small. Therefore a risk/benefit analysis is very straight-forward!

How does immunity work?
The immune system is complex, but essentially there are 3 main mechanisms of resistance to disease.
Innate immunity or inherent resistance, which is unfortunately of little help against these important diseases, even in the best fed healthy animal.

Antibody mediated immunity, induced by exposure to viruses and by vaccination. These antibody levels can be measured in a blood sample, but this is costly and does not provide the whole answer as far as protection level against natural disease is concerned.

Cell mediated immunity which cannot be measured in a blood sample and is a vital defence mechanism induced by vaccination and natural exposure.

How do vaccines work?
Vaccination protection has two important aspects.

Protection of the individual – modern vaccines provide excellent protection against feline parvovirus, and substantially lessen the effects of cat flu, although these flu viruses are impossible to eliminate. Cat viruses are complicated!

Herd protection – this is a forgotten aspect of vaccination. Essentially, if more animals in a population are vaccinated, the disease risk is less because the quantity of virus in the environment and number of diseased animals decreases. In fact, if all susceptible individuals are vaccinated the disease risk reduces to nil. Amazingly, smallpox in humans and rinderpest in cattle have been eliminated from the planet by vaccination programs.

We are never going to get to that utopian state with infectious cat diseases due to their complex biology. The reason why some unvaccinated cats do not get infections is because their owners are relying on herd immunity provided by those responsible owners who do vaccinate!

In human medicine, we are seeing the consequences of decreasing uptake of vaccination – the incidence of measles and whooping cough in some communities is increasing and tragically there have been some infant mortalities from preventable diseases.

But what about the risks?
The fact is that some vocal individuals have exaggerated the risk associated with vaccination and seem to have forgotten the fact that these core diseases will cause severe disease in most infected cats.

There is always a small risk associated with any mediation or vaccine, but let’s put this in perspective. The situation in Australia is analogous to that in the UK, where in a 5 year analysis from 2005 to 2010 there were an average of 18 adverse reported reactions per 100,000 doses of vaccine sold.

When you consider that many of these reactions are mild lethargy, inappetance or mild swelling at the injection site, it reinforces the fact that vaccination is extremely safe.

Annual vaccination?
We still recommend annual vaccination because cat parvo & flu is endemic in Queensland and more recent strains are even more virulent than those we have seen previously.

There is a lack of studies involving extended vaccination interval in the “field” situation (ie real life outside the laboratory) in endemic areas and world experts are still divided on the wisdom of extended interval vaccination.

It is also important that we give a thorough appraisal of your cat’s health status on a yearly basis, as this provides the opportunity to detect any problems before they become serious and may extend your pet’s life by many years.

It is important to ensure that your cat is healthy and likely to have an efficient immune system capable of responding effectively to vaccination.

Are kittens more vulnerable?
Yes. Young kittens are at a critical stage until 16 weeks of age.

They are born with an immature immune system and have passive immunity which is protection from a temporary supply of antibodies from their mother’s placenta and milk (if mum has been vaccinated!). Vaccination from 6 to 8 weeks of age with 3 vaccines at monthly intervals will give optimum protection during this critical time.

How can I give my cat maximum protection?
We have vast experience in the practical application of vaccines and their impact on animal health, so we recommend an annual health check and vaccination against the important infectious diseases of cats.

Other infectious diseases such as feline leukaemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency ( FIV) & feline coronavirus (FIP) are very complex and advice should be given on an individual animal basis.

At the end of the day, we know that what we do is as safe as possible and works!




MICROCHIPPING


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Please be sure that your pets are correctly identified!

From time to time, injured pets without identification turn up at vet clinics, brought in by concerned members of the public. If there is no ID, owners cannot be contacted and these animals have to be assumed to be strays. We do advertise them in the local paper but this takes time.

It does happen! Hit by car – no collar – no ID. Who is the owner? What to do?

If the animal is severely injured should the animal be put down straight away?

Or – should we use lots of practice resources trying to patch it up?

Often it is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

It is quite impossible for any animal shelter or veterinary practice to know what treatment (if any) that true owners of an unidentified stray might want. We have a duty of care to relieve pain and suffering but we would like to do more.

The message is simple and clear:

ALWAYS HAVE THAT COLLAR AND TAG ON – better still – have a microchip ID implanted as well.
Ensure that the details carried on the collar, tag and chip are current and correct.
Microchip
It is now a Queensland Government requirement that all puppies and kittens are microchipped before 12 weeks of age. This is in addition to Council Registration.

Some Questions You Might Have:

How is a microchip implanted and is it painful?
The microchip is a tiny implant that is injected under the skin at the base of the scruff of the neck, between the top of the shoulders. The procedure is quick and not usually painful if done correctly, although there can be a brief period of discomfort for very small pets, as the needle bore is larger than those usually used for injections.

At what age can my pet be microchipped?
Most puppies and kittens can be implanted from 6-8 weeks. There is no upper age limit. If your pet has not been microchipped yet, then at desexing time this may be a convenient moment, as the pet is anaesthetised and will feel nothing!

Can pets other than dogs or cats be microchipped?
Yes – any animal can be microchipped.

Are there any complications associated with microchips?
Occasionally a microchip can migrate under the skin. This doesn’t cause clinical problems but makes it harder to locate. Very rarely the body rejects the chip as foreign material and expels it back through the route in which it was implanted. It is quick and easy to check the location of your pet’s microchip at any time.

What happens if I move house or relocate my pet?
If your or your animal’s details change it is essential that you notify the microchip registry so that information can be amended. We can assist with this.



EYE SPECIALIST


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We receive regular visits from Dr Tony read who is a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist.He sees complex cases referred within our clinic and from other veterinary practices all over North Queensland.

He can give specialist medical advise for complex eye conditions such as glaucomaand can perform advanced eye surgery at our premises. Typical surgeries include specialist eyelid and corneal surgery and cataract removal.

Tony Read graduated from the University of Sydney Veterinary School in 1987. After several years in mixed general practice in Tasmania and New South Wales, Dr Read commenced specialising in Veterinary Ophthalmology in the United Kingdom. He completed specialist training at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket and then ran a referral service in Wimbledon, London.

Dr Read returned to Australia in 1996 to establish Veterinary Ophthalmic Referrals. He has British, European and Australian specialist qualifications in Veterinary Ophthalmology.



SURGERY


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Western Suburbs Vet Clinic is well equipped to provide safe anaesthesia and excellent quality surgical services.

Services include the following:-

– Dentistry (extraction, scaling and tooth repair)

– Routine desexing procedures

– Wound reconstruction and skin grafting

– Extensive range of soft tissue operative procedures

Orthopaedic surgery – we have a varied caseload including

– fracture repair
– correction of patella luxation
– cruciate surgery including TPLO techniques
– Hip luxation
– Carpal and tarsal arthrodesis
– Lameness investigation
– Specialist eye surgery including cataract removal by a visiting eye specialist




DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING


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Western Suburbs Vet Clinic prides itself in having quality equipment to aid diagnosis and treatment of your pet’s problems.

We have upgraded our Xray system to an AGFA digitalised system.

We still have the same Xray generating exposure system, so we still have to wear protective equipment and adhere to rigorous guidelines to minimise staff and animal exposure.

However, the exposed film is now scanned into a specialised computer that digitises the image!

This allows us to manipulate the final image to get a perfect result every time which minimises staff exposure and reduces anaesthetic time for your pet!

The new digital images are of far superior diagnostic quality, and enable us to take accurate measurements and plan procedures accurately.

Also we can email the images (teleradiology) and get feedback from specialists in hours.

We also have an ultrasound imager which enables us to analyse internal organs and take biopsies from deep within the body with great accuracy.



PATHOLOGY


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Clinicians at Western Suburbs Vet Clinic have access to excellent pathology services, both in house and by referral to specialist labs and technicians.

While these services can be expensive, they are an invaluable aid to treatment and decision making in critical health care.

Bottom line here is that we are able to make better diagnostic decisions with the assistance we can get from these tests. This results in better outcomes and a speedier recovery.

Our in house testing gives immediate results and includes:

Biochemical analysis
Blood gases
Blood clotting times
Haematology
Urinalysis
Heartworm antigen testing
Parvovirus antigen testing
Ringworm culture
Cytology and microscopy



ENDOSCOPY


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We have a range of endoscopes which enables us to visualise and obtain biopsies from otherwise inaccessible areas.

GASTROSCOPY
Visualise stomach, proximal small bowel and oesophagus.

BRONCHOSCOPY
Visualise windpipe and smaller airways in the lungs.

RHINOSCOPY
Visualise inside the nose and pharynx and larynx.




PRESCRIPTIONS


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It is a legal requirement that vets must examine the animals under their care on a regular basis.

This is important for the health of the animal as doses are often tailored to suit individuals. If the pet is not improving as well as was hoped for, then we may need to re-assess medication.

Doses of medications for skin conditions may need to be altered with the seasons of the year. Some medications may need to be monitored with blood tests on a regular basis.

So – if you contact us for a repeat prescription you may be instructed to come for a check up to review your pet’s progress and ensure that the treatment is effective. In many cases a verbal telephone report is all that is required and repeat prescriptions are suitable for long term medication.

Please allow 24 hours for us to prepare the medication. We have to check the patient’s records and the prescription has to be authorised and checked by a vet.

We also stock a range of pet care products available without prescription, including the most effective wormers, flea and tick control products, shampoos, complete diets, specialist foods and nutritional supplements.

Our veterinary nurses can assist with free advice as to how to get the most from these products and optimise their use in a cost-effective manner.



PRACTICE NURSES


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We are fortunate to have an excellent team of vet nurses who are trained to help with all aspects of veterinary and pet care.

Services offered by our nurses in clinic consultations include:

Claw clipping
Advice with flea and tick control
Worming
Preventative dental care
Diet and nutrition advice
Puppy / kitten advice
Assistance with behavioural and training problems
Weight loss clinic advice
Post operative examinations, suture removal and dressing changes
Ear cleaning
Assistance with medications and treatments
This however is just a small part of a vet nurse job

WHAT ELSE DO THEY DO?!

Well, let me tell you…….

They can work, in no particular order; the intravenous drip pumps, the anaesthetic machines, the blood pressure monitors, the x-ray machine and processor, the card machine, the blood machine, the autoclave (a source of mystery to all vets), the computers and when the system crashes, it is more often than not the nurses who know how to access the server and reboot the system.

They are the ones who answer the phone, book your appointments, greet you in the surgery, spoil your pets with treats, then after your consultation, check your prescriptions and take your payment.

They are the people who settle your pets into their kennels when they come in for a procedure, they will hold them gently and talk to them while they go to sleep and they are the ones who will sit with them while they wake up.

They will prepare them for surgery; clipping their fur and making sure their skin is sterile. They will also ensure the vet has all the equipment they need and sometimes they might even assist with the operation itself. Not to mention that they will be monitoring your pet throughout the procedure and they will have been trained to recognise when there is a problem and what to do in an emergency.

Veterinary nurses will not only monitor your pet’s anaesthetic, they often scrub up and assist the vet as well!

They will care for them while they are in the hospital, recording what they eat and drink, clearing away their urine and faeces and keeping them clean, taking regular TPRs, being generous with cuddles and working with vets to ensure they are comfortable and pain free.

They will be there when you pick them up, talk you through their aftercare, check their wounds, change their bandages and, quite possibly, remove their stitches when they have healed.

Behind the scenes they will also be taking radiographs, blood and urine samples. They will be inserting catheters, setting up drips, performing scales and polishes and, in some clinics, minor surgeries as well.

They will be on hand as your pet grows up, there to answer any questions you might have, help you through the sometimes challenging adolescent stages and as they reach their senior years.

They will be able to advise you on feeding, parasite control, vaccinations, behaviour, grooming and training. They can clip your pet’s nails, assess their dental health, give them medications, microchip them and help you with weight management.

This is all while running around after the vets, clearing up their messes, making sure they get their messages, assisting them with their patients and chasing them up to report results.

And when it comes to the end of your pet’s life; they will be the ones who book you in at a quiet time, who give your pet a comfy bed to lie on, who counsel you on what will happen, who will talk to you about cremation options, who will hold your hand, provide the tissues and may even shed some tears with you.

So now you know what Very Necessary, Veterinary Nurses do! Everything!



REFERRALS


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Some illnesses are unfortunately quite complex and often two (or more) minds are greater than one.

If you would like one or more of us to give an opinion on your animal, we will gladly do this at no extra charge.

We work as a team within the clinic and frequently discuss cases and utilise clinicians’ different strengths and particular interests.

If you would like a second opinion from a vet in another clinic in Townsville or elsewhere, or a specialist referral, please let us know and we shall arrange to forward the case notes at the earliest opportunity.

If you would like us to give a second opinion on your pet, please discuss this with your own vet first. They will be able to send your pet’s history to us in advance of the consultation.

At present, we are host to a visiting eye specialist, Dr Tony Read.

Please let us know if you would like to arrange for a specialist appointment.




FLEA AND TICKS


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We have a wide range of products to prvent and treat extenal and intenal parasites to keep your pet healthy

All our staff can help you select the most appropriate treatment

When you buy a product we shall text you a reminder to replenish medication when the last treatment has been used.



FINAL CARE


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The death of our pets is an event that all pet owners fear.

All our staff are trained to help you deal with your loss. Please feel free to contact any member of staff you feel at ease with. It often helps to talk things over with someone who has helped care for your pet. Most of us have also lost much loved pets and know from first hand experience how hard it is to cope with the huge gap that bereavement leaves.

Why do we euthanase our pets?
We euthanase or “put to sleep” pets because they are in pain that we cannot adequately control or because their quality of life has deteriorated beyond an acceptable level. The decision is never easy. In certain cases where treatment is perhaps not viable and your pet’s condition is deteriorating, the decision is quite clear, knowing we can prevent suffering.

Other situations may be less black and white and good days are mixed with bad. Often it helps to talk to friends, family and staff at our clinic. As pet owners ourselves we appreciate how difficult this time can be.

Some pets do die quietly and painlessly at home. However, many need veterinary intervention when quality of life deteriorates.

How do I assess my pet’s quality of life?

Pain
Acute pain is obvious from whining or yelping but chronic pain may be difficult to detect. Signs include lethargy, loss of appetite, reluctance to exercise and a dull demeanour.

Appetite
Any pet that has no appetite and is disinterested in food or drink has a reduced quality of life.

Socialisation
Most pets respond when we come home from work or enter a room. If you pet doesn’t respond to you or greet you, it could indicate a serious illness.

Cleanliness
Our pets prefer to be clean. Cats especially are fastidious groomers. Matted coats or soiling of coat or bedding indicate a serious situation.

Change of behaviour
Small pets such as rats, guinea pigs and birds may appear hinched or ‘fluffed up’, or may be active at unusual times if they are feeling ill.

How is euthenasia performed?
A large dose of anaesthetic is given that leads to unconsciousness within a few seconds. The procedure is quick and painless.

The anaesthetic may be given by injection or by inhalation (the kindest way for small pets such as birds and guinea pigs, rats etc.)

In many cases we may administer a sedative before the procedure so the pet is quickly unaware of its surroundings and comfortably sleepy.

Consciousness is lost in seconds and although you may see some reflex actions (sighing, urinating, defacating) please be assured that your pet is unaware of anything.

You can decide to stay with your pet or say goodbye and leave him or her at the practice, in which case we shall conduct the procedure immediately.

If you wish to stay we can help you choose an appointment at a quiet time, so you do not have any waiting and can go straight into a private consulting room.

If it is impossible to attend the surgery, we can arrange a visit at home. The vet will bring a nurse to assist. It is best to plan this in advance and we shall try and accommodate your wishes as much as staffing levels and clinic commitments allow. Home visits are obviously more expensive and the visit cost is in addition to the euthanasia fee.

What happens to my pet’s body after euthanasia?

Burial at home
Many people choose to bury their pets at home. Remember the size and depth of the grave must be sufficient to accommodate your pet without the risk of disturbance from wild animals or future property owners. We can provide biodegradable bags in which to wrap your pet to permit normal decomposition.

Council disposal
For wild animals and for pets whose owners wish it, then council burial may be the preferred option. All pets and wild animals are treated with respect and are kept separate from public areas.

Cremations
We are fortunate in Townsville to have the services of Pet Heaven, a privately owned Pet Cemetary and Crematorium. The cemetary at Bluewater on the Northern Beaches was created in 2003 with the assistance of Dick and Robyn Murray, the founders of the clinic. We are proud of our association with Pet Heaven and the majority of our clients choose to have their pet cremated individually.



AMBULANCE


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We realise that in some cases pet owners may have difficulty with transport.

We can arrange collection and delivery of your animal.

In some cases, our vets can be mobile and arrange a home veterinary visit if your pet is unable to be moved without medical assistance at your home in Townsville.



LOCAL ADVICE



NEW RESIDENTS


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If you have just moved to the area and are looking for a local vet in Townsville, we would be delighted to welcome you to our clinic.

Don’t wait until you need a vet urgently – please pop in to meet us, register your pets, and we can arrange to send you dog vaccination or cat vaccination reminders and ensure that your pets worming and anti-parasitic treatments are suitable for our area.

There are a number of pet care issues to tackle when living in the sub-tropical climate of North Queensland. As local Townsville vets we are well placed to advise you about these potential problems – and how to avoid them. They include heat stress, heartworm, hookworm, brown ticks and flea infestation, threats from snakes and cane toad poisoning! Don’t panic though – we have been established as vets in Townsville since 1982 and, as such, are well experienced and knowledgeable about the local area, and therefore able to help you manage these potential problems.

If you’d like to find out about a particular issue, we have lots of useful information on our website, including about the potential problems mentioned above, which you can find by using the navigation menu to the left.

In spite of the extreme environment this beautiful area of North Queensland is a wonderful place to live and there are many fantastic places to walk and exercise your dog.

Don’t forget to change your pet’s microchip details so the registration is relevant to where you now live. You can do this on-line, or we can assist you with this. You will also need to change the local authority registration to Townsville City Council.

We are central, conveniently located with ample parking, and have good links with the veterinary department at James Cook University which provides excellent specialist and emergency assistance for our clients when it is required.

We hope your move here has been trouble free. Please browse this website to become familiar with local information and services and “like” us on Facebook to get current clinic news.

Welcome & Best Wishes
The team at WSVC



CYCLONE PREP


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Cyclones are a fact of life in North Queensland!

Every year between November and April coastal regions like Townsville risk being hit by one.

We can’t get complacent because of an average or below average outlook.

We must not relax because Townsville survived Yasi remarkably well – we will get another sometime, it will just have another name. Remember Cyclone Athena in the 1970’s that tore up the Strand and smashed the town. Remember Tracey that destroyed Darwin and forced evacuation of the whole city.

We recommend that people with pets need to plan for them now as a matter of urgency. Be sure to check the City Council’s Emergency Disaster Plan to see what is required of you with respect to dealing with pet animals. Check the Council’s website, pick up a “Pets and Cyclones” brochure at your local vet clinic, or if all else fails, phone the Council helpline and ask for advice.

Make your plan now, before it is all hitting the fan and you are so freaked out you can’t think straight. If a category 4 or 5 cyclone hits you will be in a panic and unable to think clearly. Even if we get a category 5 cyclone however, it is most unlikely that you will end up sitting on the roof of your home until flood water surrounds you, waiting for helicopter rescue, or have to move out in the back of an army truck with only the clothes on your back. But all of that can happen, and it has before, so you do have to be prepared.

Following are some points to consider when making your emergency plan:

Do not assume that pet animals will be allowed into emergency accommodation
Do not assume that you can whiz your pets out to a nearby boarding kennel or cattery
Be aware that emergency transport being used for evacuation may not allow pet animals to accompany rescued persons
Contact hotels and motels outside the threat area and check their policies on accepting pets and any restriction on size, species, etc
Check whether animal boarding facilities close by or outside the threat area can provide accommodation for pets in the event of evacuation
Keep your pets vaccinations up to date and have records available to take with you if you have to evacuate – shelters and boarding facilities will not admit animals without these records
Before all else we ask:
– Is your pet clearly identified?
– Does it have a collar and ID tag?
– Does it have a proper microchip with correct registration and contact details?

Ensure you have got recent photos of your pets available to help with identification in the event you become separated from them
If your pet is on medication ensure you have an adequate supply to cover a disaster event
If your pet wears a choker collar, have a separate leather or nylon one available so no injury occurs if the pet is tied up during stressful conditions. We have seen cases of dogs that have strangled themselves with choker collars.
Sort adequate supplies, such as:
– Food
– Clean water
– Leash
– Carry basket
– Litter tray
– Food/water bowls
– Can opener/food containers

Buy a pet carrier large enough to enable your pet to stand and move around. Make sure that are comfortable in the carrier and train them to enter and spend time in it
If you have to move to higher ground, can the pets be accommodated in the vehicle? If you don’t have a vehicle, do you know who is going to be taking you to a safer place – and will they allow pets to go with you?
If the worst happens be prepared to leave your pets as safe as you can and hope they make it. Consider the following if you are forced to abandon your pets.
Place each pet in a separate room – even pets that normally get on well together can become aggressive toward each other under the stress; a category 4 or 5 cyclone is scary, noisy and frightening.
Do not tie them up
Small rooms without windows, which are easy to clean, such as toilets and bathrooms are most appropriate
Garages are not safe – the doors can get blown in, sucked out, and flap about dangerously when broken
Leave normal bedding and favourite toys with them to help control anxiety
If there is a threat of flooding, or storm surge, leave furniture which will allow them to gain height
Leave two or three days supply of dry food and water in a large heavy container that is difficult to knock over
Leave a notice on the outside and inside of your doors advising emergency services personnel of which animals they are likely to encounter in which rooms. Also leave all your contact details
Please think it through – find out what you need to prepare for cyclones in Queensland. Get all your supplies ready to go in one place. Don’t be like the rabbit in the head lights – be smart and be safe. There will always be those who will never be properly organised no matter how much warning they are given – just don’t be one of them yourself! Cyclones in Queensland are a fact of life!

Our Vet Clinic
In the middle of a cyclone our Western Suburbs Vet Clinic will be shut-up safely, sand bagged, and we will be sheltering to survive like everyone else.

However, we have emergency power generation for lighting and refrigeration, and after Yasi we were functional within 48 hours. So, although while the cyclone is on top of us we shall be struggling to survive like everyone else, we expect to be available to assist your pets with emergency veterinary treatment injuries and illness as soon as is practically possible, in the aftermath.



HOT SUMMERS


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Pets make it safely and comfortably through the hotter months. Our dogs and cats are often left outside to deal with the heat while we head off to our airconditioned workplaces. There are many things we can do to make their lives more bearable. Here are just a few ideas:

Long haired dogs and dogs with very thick coats find it much harder to keep cool than short haired pets. Consider having their coat clipped soon and maintain it at a short length throughout summer. Regular grooming of thick coats will also help to remove excess hair and thin the coat – and this will let the dog underneath the hair cool down much more effectively!

If you exercise with your dog, adjust the timing of your activities so that all the hard work happens during the coolest parts of the day. Common sense will tell you that early mornings and evenings are far better times to exercise without the risk of boiling over. And it’s not a bad idea to reduce the duration of exercise and perhaps increase the frequency instead – it’s not unheard of for a dog to run beside an owner for miles and miles using every last drop they’ve got, then suddenly fall into a heat stress induced collapse. Shorter nosed dogs like Staffies, Boxers and Cavaliers can get into a dangerous state of respiratory distress if exercised excessively in hot weather – their already narrowed airways can swell and obstruct and this quickly leads into respiratory failure.

NEVER leave your pets in your car for ANY length of time – the temperature in a parked car can rise to a lethal level in a very short period.

Always ensure your pet has access to cool shady areas around your home – under high set homes and under verandahs tend to be fairly cool places where your pet can be comfortable throughout most of the day. Be aware of where kennels are placed in your yard and use the shadows thrown by your house during the day to give the kennel relief from direct sunlight.

Dogs and cats MUST have access to clean fresh water at all times – if you’re worried about pets tipping water bowls over, provide multiple deep drinking containers and place a brick or heavy rock in the bottom to keep them secure. There are products available that can be fitted to taps or large water reservoirs that provide a constant self-filling water supply for your pet – check out your local pet shop.

Plastic “clam shell” sand pits are great for dogs during summer. One half can be filled with water and the other filled with sand. In the mornings the sand can be dampened down with the hose, so your dog can choose between wallowing in the shallow water or resting in the cool damp sand.

Use old butter or margarine containers to make large ice blocks for your pets to cool down drinking water. You can also make fun ice blocks for dogs to play with – add some chopped veges and chunks of meat to beef or chicken stock and then freeze it. Kongs can also be stuffed with food and frozen to provide a cool treat throughout the day.

These are just a few tips for beating the heat – but they’re simple and cheap ideas and you can be sure that your best hairy friend will appreciate the effort!




HEAT STRESS


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Normal heat dissipating mechanisms can not compensate for excessive heat load. Excessive heat load can be caused by a whole range of things. When body temperature rises above a critical level, generalized cellular necrosis begins to occur and normal thermoregulatory mechanisms stop operating. The critical temperature for organ failure is 42.7C. In our hot and often humid Townsville summer time, it is quite easy to reach this point of no return.

All body systems can be affected by heat stress – examlples include:

Nerve injury and brain pressure
Dehydration and heart failure
Toxic thermal liver damage
Tubular damage and acute kidney failure
Systemic circulatory breakdown and bleeding from all over
Muscle breakdown
We tend not to see cases of heat stress in pet cats, though it is possible and might be more likely to occur with Persian (brachycephalic) types and the “locked in the hot room” situation. The key thing to understand about heat stress in dogs, is that dogs do not cool by sweating as do many other animals. Animals that do not sweat over the surface of the body can not benefit from that very effective process of controlled evaporative skin cooling that other animals like humans and horses do.

Dogs can and obviously do keep themselves cool by two methods:

Evaporative cooling from lungs and mouth (panting)
Conduction cooling from skin contact with cool surfaces/substances and damp shady breezy places
So long as they have plenty of fresh air and cool water, most reasonably fit/healthy dogs can manage hot weather without too much trouble at all. What they can’t cope with is a combination of excessive heat + excessive humidity. This is because humidity compromises the efficiency of their radiator system. On a humid day panting simply doesn’t work at all well. On a very humid day it doesn’t even have to be very hot and they can be in a lot of trouble if exercised or otherwise “heat stressed” in some other way. With continuing heat stress while the weather is hot-humid, a dog’s core body temperature just keeps going up and up until the unfortunate creature starts falling over and melting down.

The notion that thick coated dogs are more likely to be affected by heat stress is probably not valid. This is because (as was pointed out above) dogs do NOT cool by sweating through the skin. Immersion in cooling water can obtain a conduction/evaporative cooling effect and coat thickness may have some bearing on how efficiently this works, but immersion is not their main inbuilt thermoregulatory mechanism.
Brachycephalic (squash faced) breeds are more affected by heat stress because they can’t breathe properly and hence can’t pant properly. Overtyped brachycephalic dogs can quite easily die from heat stress on a hot humid day even without doing anything strenuous at all. It is not enough to keep these kinds of heatstress prone dogs from getting too hot, you have to actively ensure they stay cool.
It is a fatal mistake to leave a dog in a locked up car. Why?

A locked up car in the sun can get as hot as an oven
The moisture loss from the lungs of a desperate, panting, heat stressed dog will advance humidity levels in an enclosed airspace to levels approaching 100% in no time at all.
What have you got? An extremely hot environment and very high humidity ie heat + humidity. Is that bad? Yes indeed! – That’s a lethal combination! – Make the “dog in the closed car” mistake and you will have a dead dog happening… and pretty darned quickly too!

Symptoms

Early stage heat stress signs include the obvious symptoms of:

Panting hard
Actively seeking shade/cool
Excessive salivation and enlarging tongue
Congesting (more red) mucous membranes
Increasing heart rate
Starting to show anxiety/distress

First aid

Up to a point, such signs are quite normal for a hot dog. These are the signals that a hot dog is thermoregulating (working to reduce its temperature) in a completely normal way. At this stage, you can help the dog thermoregulate by doing a number of simple and pretty obvious things:

Resting
Finding/providing shade
Maintaining a breeze eg fanning
Providing fresh cool water to drink
Rinsing/dipping/wetting down.

Emergency

Signs of a progressing/worsening/getting critical/potentially terminal stage heat stress (depending on the severity and duration of the hyperthermia) can include the following:

Very rapid heart rate
Failing circulation/tacky dry pale gums
Trembling/fitting/falling down
Respiratory distress
Hemorrhagic vomiting
Diarrhoea with blood
Such cases need intensive medical treatment. Even with such care, they may still die. Main thing is to be aware of the lethal potential of heat stress and to recognise the risk both for your pets and indeed for yourself.

Pavements

Don’t forget how hot pavements and roads get in summer

Try this – Take off your shoes and then get down on your hands, elbows, knees and toes touching the ground. Hold your head about a foot above the ground. Now crawl along. This is what your dog experiences on scorching hot pavements.

Sometimes I see people getting cross with their dog because it won’t sit before crossing the road. I feel like telling them to park their bare bum and bits on the tarmac or pavement and see how long they last!

We regularly see dogs with burnt footpads and it takes weeks for these to recover. In the summer walk early morning or late evening when cooler and test the pavement temperature first. Don’t forget the beach sand will get as hot as pavers!



DOG TICKS


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The tick we are discussing here is the Brown Dog Tick (Ripicephalus sanguineus). Brown dog ticks are very common in coastal Queensland anywhere north of Rockhampton. Brown Dog Tick infestations can be a VERY BIG household problem in allTownsville suburbs. It is important to point out here, before going any further, that the common Brown Dog Tick that we have trouble with in Townsville is quite different to the kangaroo tick, the cattle tick and the scrub tick.

There are all sorts of myths and misinformation about dog ticks. Unfortunately frequently, self styled “experts” on this subject, talk nothing but rot. This article may be a bit lengthy, but now is the time to get it all sorted out – before “tick time” catches up with us (as it always does) towards the end of the calendar year.

Brown Dog Ticks (BDTs) are active all year round, but they are most active in the summer months, especially after rain. Big hatch-outs and stage-moults occur in response to atmospheric conditions. Dog owners with sudden tick infestations happening at home are often surprised and bewildered by the event.

Once they gain a firm foothold, it is a very big task to get rid of BDTs. Unless dealt with thoroughly, they will (quite literally) breed up more quickly than you can kill them.

Contrary to popular opinion, certain Townsville neighbourhoods are not particularly tick prone. If you have a BDT problem, this is not because you live in a “ticky” locality – it is because someone has been careless in the past and ticks on the dogs have been able to breed up.
It is a very big mistake to think that just a couple of ticks now and then don’t matter. A couple of ticks now can easily translate into a couple of thousand for years to come. All tick stages can “rest” for months (and sometimes years) to “flush out” later on and take everybody by surprise.
The most commonly noticed life-cycle stages of these ticks are the adult males (like small flat brown spiders), adult females (fat, softer, bluey grey – small legs up the front) and the nymphs which are dark blue/black and about 2-3mm in size. The first life-cycle stage is so tiny as to be most often not seen at all – these are the larvae which have just hatched from the eggs.
Brown Dog Ticks can kill dogs. Infestations of all stages and combinations of stages can be so bad that in just a couple of days all the dog’s blood is sucked out! It happens! Brown Dog Ticks can also transmit “tick fever” (Babesiosis) which causes malaria type symptoms in dogs. It is important to know that:

Each fully engorged female lays 3 000 eggs.
The eggs hatch out in batches but only when the humidity and temperature is right.
Some years are worse for ticks than others. It depends on the weather and the “resting” burden carried over from the year before.
Tick eggs are resistant to pesticides. Because of this, the ticks often seem to keep coming back despite area treatments that you think should be working better.
Ticks are arachnids… they are not insects. Ordinary insecticides are not effective.
The number of ticks on the dogs at any one time is just a tiny fraction of the overall population. Ticks actually spend most of their time off the dog between blood meals.
“Off dog” ticks find the smallest of cracks and crevices to “lie up” in. They can survive for many, many months without shifting. They also climb really well! Under bricks, between pavers, behind skirting boards… even in the roof!
You will never beat a tick infestation with the old “dog dip once a week” routine.
If you have a dog tick problem…. it is beatable, but you have to get onto it properly.

Current WSVC approach:

There are excellent treatments available for dog ticks these days. The old baths and washes have been superceded by modern spot-on and tablet medications.

We consider one of the best treatments and preventions in Townsville to be Nexgard – this is given as a monthly chewable tablet. It is easier to reliably administer than some spot-on treatments and is still effective if the dog gets wet.

We also sell environmental products to spray under and around houses in very severe cases but we generally find that Nexgard does the job nicely these days.

Call the clinic if you think you have a tick problem… If you are serious about getting it sorted out, we can do that for you.

Tick Facts

We are incredibly lucky in Townsville that we do not seem to have paralysis ticks in our main suburbs. The few cases we do see in dogs and cats come from high up on Harveys Range, or are animals from outside our area.

However if you are traveling outside town with your pets please come in and ask for advice on prevention as these ticks are a deadly threat in other areas of Australia and even in localities close to us.



CANE TOADS


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Cane toads in Townsville, Australia
Cane Toads were introduced into Australia in 1935 in an attempt to eliminate various cane pests. The main idea was that the old Bufo would eat all the cane beetles and everyone would live happily ever after. It didn’t work out all that well and (as everyone now knows, especially vets) cane toads eat almost any living thing they can get into their mouths – except cane beetles!

Since the time of their introduction, these South American imports have spread from Cape York down as far as Coffs Harbour, a few sightings have also been made as far south as Melbourne. The cane toad introduction story is a classic case of a biological control initiative that got completely and disastrously out of control. Cane toads are a major ecological menace and they are here to stay by the look of it.

Cane toads are most active during the warmer months when humidity is high. Most encounters occur during the evening, night or early morning hours when the toads are out foraging. B marinus excretes a highly toxic (defensive) white substance from its parotid (shoulder) glands when alarmed or agitated. I believe the poison can actually “squirt” from the glands to some extent when they are really stirred up.

I have been told you can kiss toads quite safely, so long as you don’t get them agitated – and so long as you don’t then nuzzle them on the neck! I don’t recommend that anyone should do this however and especially recommend keeping your mouth firmly shut while you do – if you are tempted. The toxin risk is a serious one. However, just the thought of that reverse attaching, projectile tongue possibly being whacked down amongst ones tonsils is quite enough to make most people feel a bit queasy and sweaty on its own.

The toads poison is absorbed across mucous membranes in the victim’s mouth. The toxins are quickly absorbed through the skin of the tongue/lips and gums and appear to cause dogs intense irritation that makes them spit, dribble and paw at their mouth. The poison components include indole alkyl amines, cardiac glycosides and non-cardiac sterols. The indole alkyl amines are similar to the drug LSD. There is no specific antidote for toad poison and fatalities are not uncommon, especially in smaller dogs. In severe cases, medical treatment may include intravenous infusions, sedation, anticonvulsant drugs and symptomatic therapy. Dogs showing signs of cane toad poisoning will exhibit some or all of the following:

Symptoms of Cane Toad Poisoning
Profuse hypersalivation
Running/circling/staggering
Clawing/pawing at the mouth
Hyperexcitation with vocalisation
Engorged, brick red inner lips and gums
Difficulty breathing
Overheating
Heart racing
Muscle weakness
Paddling fits
Shortage of oxygen

First aid for Cane Toads Poisoning
In the event of poisoning phone us and let us know you are coming to the clinic.

BUT even before leaving home, rinse the animal’s mouth out with copious amounts of water. The poison is thick and tacky and tends to stick in the mouth so wiping the inside of the mouth, gums and tongue with a wet cloth is quite effective in removing the toxin preventing absorbtion. You can wash the mouth with a hosepipe but don’t cause stress and be careful to avoid aspiration of water! If your pet is choking or coughing then gently wiping the mouth may be better. If poison is smeared on the skin, wash the whole head with water.

When you get to the clinicwe shall have emergency procedures all ready to attend to your pet immediately.




SNAKE BITES


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While I don’t pretend to be an expert herpetologist, I do have a lot of experience in snake bite treatment of pet animals over these past 30 years or so now.

It is a pity really that snakes get such bad press because they are in many ways remarkable creatures. How often do we hear people say with conviction that the only good snake is a dead one? The truth is that by and large snakes are more “sinned against than sinning”. We humans are ambivalent creatures. It is a strange thing that the same people who chop up every snake they lay eyes on will often tell you how bad it is to keep a cat because it might harm the local wildlife!

Fact is that most snakes here abouts are actually harmless – and all of them pretty much just want to be left alone and not be hassled by pet animals (or people for that matter also). I think it is true to say that if we keep out of their way, they in turn, will keep out of ours.

Snakes found in the Townsville region can be arranged into the following THREE groups. Harmless snakes in our part of the world include Children’s Pythons, Water Pythons and Carpet Snakes
Other “non-dangerous” snakes here include Green and Brown Tree Snakes, Black Whip Snakes, Keelbacks, Orange Naped Snakes and Northern Crowned Snakes.
Dangerous venomous snakes include Taipans, Eastern Browns and Death Adders
First thing to say is that all the “harmless” snakes are not really harmless – some are even in fact venomous, though not dangerously so. Second thing to say is that there are lots of “experts” out there who think they can reliably identify any kind of local snake and mostly get it wrong. I mention this just so people can be a little cautious of the advice they may be given by the uncle of the guy next door who used to used to work in the bush somewhere and who has known all about all kinds of snakes since childhood.

We do have lethally venomous snakes in the Townsville district and as that description suggests, these snakes can kill you or your pets no trouble at all if they can get a good bite in.

Of the lethally venomous snakes we see Taipan bite cases from Mt Louisa and also from up on Herveys Range. These cases are really not common and your pet dog or cat will probably have to go and find one to get in trouble. I have never treated a Taipan bitten pet – they are always dead on arrival.

I understand there are Death Adders on Magnetic Island and in the locality of Castle Hill. Death Adders are very shy snakes and I have never seen a Death Adder bite case – in fact I don’t know anyone who has even seen one of these snakes in the paddock.

It is the Eastern Brown snake that we need to be watchful for around the Townsville itself. These are the most common dangerous snake we see. These fellows are brown in colour (surprise, surprise), they don’t have a neck like the Taipans do and they do have nice little orange / pink spots /patches underneath that really show up against the otherwise creamy coloured belly scales.

Browns turn up all across the suburbs. It is an error to think they will only be found out around the edges of town. These snakes will definitely attack if crowded and a bite from them can easily kill. By and large Brown snake bites are treatable, though it can be difficult in the early stages to discern what has happened and what is going on.

Of course it helps in the diagnosis if somebody witnessed the event and it helps even more if there is a dead snake to be identified. Having said that, it is also very important to say that nobody should ever be risking a bite just to be sure we have a dead snake for identification purposes. Remember, Brown Snakes are quite aggressive when stirred up. They may come after you with a surprising turn of speed and they can strike very swiftly. In pets the type of venom in a snake bite case can be identified a urine tests provided it is 6 hours after the bite. It is an expensive though reliable test. However, most often we are not wishing to wait that long to make a treatment decision and we rely instead on symptoms of envenomation.

The principle presenting sign with Brown Snake envenomation is a typical kind of flaccid (weak) paralysis… Later comes a subsequent and more serious haemorrhagic disorder with rectal/oral/nasal bleeding. The antivenene for Brown Snake bites is expensive but it is also effective and most cases can make a relatively quick and complete recovery (provided they get their treatment before it is too late).



HEARTWORM


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In the last few months, we’ve seen an increase in pets without heartworm protection. This can be for many reasons such as owners that have moved from southern states and didn’t realize the year-round risk here in Queensland. Owners can lapse in giving monthly preventatives. Many cat owners don’t realize there are preventatives available for their feline friends, too.

Another more troubling reason is that owners don’t believe that their pet will get heartworm, either because their pets have never been on preventative before and never had problems, or that veterinarians are trying to make money off of a scare campaign and the disease isn’t real. The fact is, a lot of these owners end up getting burned when their pet ends up infected, and it does happen!

This is a real gamble, and if you come out losing the bet, it is your pet that pays the price. Heartworm is also a ‘pet public health’ issue—the more pets lacking protection, the larger the reserviour pool for future infections, raising the risk further. Here’s a quick review of heartworm lifecycles:

– Adult heartworm live inside feline and canine hearts. They reproduce to create microfilaria (or immature worms) which circulate in the animal’s bloodstream.

– These microfilaria are sucked up in mosquito blood meals. The microfilaria mature inside the mosquito.

– When the mosquito bites the next animal, it can pass on this now-infective heartworm.

So what is the real risk? Well, the Twin Cities certainly has no shortage of dogs and cats. And we also have no shortage of blood-sucking mosquitoes, either!! The risk is comparable to sending your unvaccinated child to kindergarten—they are bound to get sick. And the more unvaccinated children around, the more likely disease outbreaks occur.

Classic signs of heartworm in dogs include coughing and exercise intolerance. Cats often have chronic vomiting or just suddenly die. Even in minor infections where these signs aren’t obvious, heartworms cause inflammation that damages the heart and lungs. And that is why we worry.

New heartworm products are being introduced all the time. It’s very hard to remember to give the daily products, and even one day of missed dosing leaves your pet unprotected. There are monthly tablets and spot-on treatments that are now available. There is also an annual injection for dogs that can be given at the same visit as vaccination.

And best of all, these products are much more reasonable in price than when preventatives were first introduced years ago. It does NOT have to cost a lot of money to protect your pet. It costs A LOT more to treat your animal once it is infected, especially if the disease has progressed. Please discuss your lifestyle, financial concerns, and de-worming needs of your pet with your veterinarian to help choose the product that is appropriate for you.



PUPPY PRESCHOOL


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Puppy classes at Western Suburbs Vet Clinic are run by professional dog trainer, Belinda Young, owner of Treat Play Love. Belinda has her Cert IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Institute and has been running Puppy Preschool classes for the past 10 years.

Belinda’s 5-week Puppy Preschool program covers basic training skills, troubleshooting strategies for common puppy problems, and safe opportunities for positive interactions between puppies. Class sizes are kept small to provide an optimal learning experience for both humans and dogs.

The age limit for Puppy Preschool is 14 weeks old at the first class. Belinda’s classes are often fully booked up to a month in advance, so we recommend enquiring early to secure a spot. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly via the contact form at www.treatplaylove.com.au


FEES AND CHARGES

As with modern human medicine there have been many developments in veterinary medicine but these have increased costs and there is no government subsidy ( Medicare ) for pets. All companion animal fees are also subject to GST.

However maintaining your pet’s health does not have to be expensive. We are a small privately owned clinic and most of our profits are re-invested in facilities and human resources to improve services. We have no shareholders to please.

Basic preventative services such as vaccinations, microchips, desexings and worming and flea products are discounted to maintain affordability. Our staff can recommend the most effective , low cost products for parasite control – just because a product is cheaper does not mean it is less effective.

If your pet is sick and needs diagnostic tests ( including laboratory tests, X-rays, endoscopy etc ), medications or surgery we always endeavour to provide an accurate estimate. If the future medical requirements are unknown we shall advise you at least daily of costings at the same time as reporting on progress of your pet. We always recommend the best treatment for your pet and allow you to make decisions on expenses and can advise how to proceed if the best treatment is above budget limits.

We do not provide credit generally as this would compromise our business and restrict our ability to provide services but there are a variety of ways vet costs can be facilitated, including pet insurance ( which should be started when the animal is young ) and Vetpay which provides credit in urgent situations. We shall always ensure your pet has adequate pain relief in any situation, although tragically euthanasia may be the only viable answer.

If you require any estimates or would like to know fixed fees for any routine procedures please phone and our staff will be happy to assist.

PUPPY PRESCHOOL GRADUATES



ABOUT US

For most people, pets are much-appreciated animal companions that play a very important role in their owners’ lives.

We see our business as being about helping people support and sustain that bond between themselves and their pet animals.

This Clinic was built in 1982 by Dick and Robyn Murray as a purpose-built small animal practice. Since then it has undergone a series of internal structural upgrades to keep it current with best practices in veterinary service delivery.

The practice is currently owned and managed by Helen Tanzer and Alistair Graham-Evans. The clinic principles and goals remain unchanged.

We still aim to be a family-style practice attempting to promote best advice and treatment for your pets with compassion and good humour.

OUR STAFF


Vets

  • Dr Helen Tanzer
  • Dr Alistair Graham-Evans
  • Dr Jo Woodger
  • Dr Heather D’Mello
  • Dr Jill Beasley
  • Dr Kate Fisk
  • Dr Edward Dawson
  • Dr Dick Murray
Dr Helen Tanzer

BVSc(Hons)

Helen graduated from the University of Queensland in 2001 and has been a veterinarian at Western Suburbs Vet Clinic since 2003.  Her main interest is in canine medicine, but she also recognises that cats can be quite special too!

Helen and her family share their home with Maurie, an excitable young Labrador, and Snap, a rescued three-legged cat.

In 2011 Helen entered into a partnership with Alistair Graham-Evans as co-owners of the practice.

Dr Alistair Graham-Evans

MA, VetMB

Alistair qualified from Cambridge University in 1984. He moved with his family to Australia in 2003, and has been working at the clinic since 2005.

In March 2011 he became co-owner of the clinic with Helen Tanzer, and has a special interest in surgical conditions of pet animals.

At home, he attempts to tame a few acres of rainforest, 2 scruffy elderly dogs, 2 cats, a variety of chickens and Rupert the rooster.

Dr Jo Woodger

BVetMed, BVSc(Hons), BSc

Jo studied Veterinary Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, London, graduating in 2009.

She came to Australia in 2010 for a working holiday, fell in love with the laid-back North Queensland lifestyle, and never left!

Since graduation Jo has concentrated solely on small animal practice and has a particular interest in tricky medical cases.

In her spare time, Jo enjoys keeping active, counting water-sports, pilates and travel amongst her hobbies.

Jo and her husband have a very spoilt only dog-child Webber, a Kelpie X, who enjoys accompanying them on boating and camping trips.

Jo has returned to work part-time after maternity leave.

Dr Heather D’Mello

BVSc

Heather graduated from the University of Queensland in 2006. She worked in mixed practice for 8 years then in 2015 started working in small animal clinics and joined us in August 2016.

Heather and her family have several fish, 2 budgies and a Boxer cross, Hammer, who likes to find new and inventive ways to chew and destroy everyday household objects.

At work Heather enjoys small animal medicine and learning more about all animals great and small.

Dr Jill Beasley

BVSc

Jill graduated from James Cook University in 2010. After this she spent a couple of years in mixed practice in Charters Towers, as well as a stint in England practicing for 12 months. Jill enjoys medical and emergency cases in practice. She also moonlights at the local RSPCA Shelter and JCU Emergency centre when possible. She is currently undertaking further study through Massey University in Veterinary Medicine.

Outside of work, you’ll often find her walking her dogs or enjoying the great outdoors of North Queensland.

Jill has returned to us from the UK where she spent time sampling British pubs and European food.

Dr Kate Fisk

BVSc, BAppSc, CVA

Kate graduated from James Cook University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science. Prior to this, she completed a Bachelor of Applied Science at the University of Queensland Gatton campus. After graduation, she worked in mixed practice for 4 years in Charters Towers and in 2016 undertook further study to gain her Certificate of Veterinary Acupuncture. She returned to Townsville in 2017 after visiting South Australia for a locum position.

Kate lives on acreage with her partner, Border Collies, Flynn and Molly, Dora the cat, a handful of chickens and beehives. She enjoys river and beach walks with her dogs, Crossfit, gardening, cooking, candle making and camping

Dr Edward Dawson

BVSc

Dr Dick Murray

BSc, MSc, FAVA, MACVSc (Retired)

Dick Murray graduated in ’73 at U.Q. and has been involved principally in companion animal (pet) practice since then.

Dick’s contributions to the profession have been recognized by the Australian Veterinary Association in the form of an MSO (Meritorious Service Award), Fellowship of the Association and the Gilruth Prize of the Australian Veterinary Association.

His Masters degree from JCU was for research into Urban Animal Management and his admission to membership of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists was for studies in Animal Behaviour.

His Order of Australia Medal was awarded for 2 decades of voluntary work in the field of Animal Management in the roles of Convener for the Urban Animal management group and, subsequently, President of the Australian Institute of Animal Management.

Dick and his wife Robyn started the vet clinic in 1982 and we are indebted to them for giving us such a fantastic first 39 years ! We shall endeavour to continue their good work in the future, having cared for generations of animals for families in Townsville.


Nurses

  • Teegin Bull
  • Courtney Tapiolas
  • Emily Hayden
  • Annette Edson
  • Nurse Ella
  • Rebecca Cupo
  • Ainsley Sloman
  • Ailsa Wilson
  • Felicity Bond
  • Georgina Mann
Teegin Bull

Teegin joined the team in 2009 and has had to purchase 23 acres out of Townsville to house the many strays she has collected from her years of nursing. Luckily her husband Mick is a very tolerant man and also enjoys the company of animals. Currently ‘Snakeweed Flats’ houses horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, geese and various stray and foster animals at any given time.

Teegin is actively involved in the local dog club, Townsville Outdoor Agility Dog Sports (TOADS), and regularly competes in agility with the club on a local and national level.

She has a keen interest in animal behaviour and training and particularly enjoys helping dogs work through behavioral problems for them to become better and more confident pets. Teegin also enjoys horsemanship, learning under the guidance of local trainers Geoff and Vicki Toomby, stock dog work, hiking, camping and relaxing at home by the fire.

Courtney Tapiolas

Courtney initially completed her nursing qualification with us in 2008 and has traveled extensively in Australia with her defence force husband and gained valuable experience.

She is interested in emergency medicine, anaesthesia and patient well-being. She has certificate IV nursing with an extension in Emergency and Critical Care and plans to obtain a diploma in the future.

She enjoys continuing education and beach trips with her two labradors – Ruby the geriatric golden girl and Nero the chocolate bandit.

Courtney has found someone with sufficient energy to care for her twins so she can come back to us part-time after extended maternity leave.

Emily Hayden

Emily started veterinary nursing in 2006 after gaining a school based traineeship.

She worked in general practice for 5 years before moving to the JCU Referral and Emergency Centre where she worked for 5 years as an emergency nurse. She loves every aspect of nursing especially emergency and critical care.

Emily is married and has three horses Emerald, Garnet and Barrack, a cat, Eddie and a hairy Wolfhound, Dakota at home but countless other creatures out at my parents house that keep her busy.

Emily is currently on maternity leave.

Annette Edson

Annette first joined us in 2015 as a locum nurse. She completed her animal care and and veterinary nursing training in South Australia in 1988.

She has lived with her family in Townsville for 18 years and has a particular interest in wildlife, having been a macropod carer for the last 5 years.

Annette has 2 dogs, 2 cats and various transient creatures at home at any given time.

Nurse Ella

Ella started veterinary nursing in 2016 whilst completing her certificate II. She joined our team in 2017 and is now currently completing her certificate IV in veterinary nursing with us.

Ella owns her border collie “Uber” and quarter horse “Jak”, though her family pets range from horses, cattle, dogs, cats, chickens, guinea pigs, mice and everything in between.

Ella is greatly involved with a local cattle station that trains horses, dogs, cattle, people and occasionally a cooperative cat or two. She is very passionate about large animal wellbeing and of course the care of “smallies”.

Rebecca Cupo

Rebecca joined us in April 2014 shortly after a family move from Darwin.

She has 2 dogs (lovely Cleo and crazy Alfie) and 2 cats (Christofferson and neurotic Raisin).

She is pleased to attend to your enquiries in reception as well as assisting our nursing staff.

She now works part-time to allow science study at JCU.

Ainsley Sloman

Ainsley joined the team in 2018, utilising her Cert II in Animal Studies and Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing. Since joining our team, she has also completed a Diploma of Business.

Ainsley enjoys all aspects of nursing, but has a particular soft spot for our Golden Retriever patients.

In her spare time, Ainsley is attending university to complete a Bachelor of Business. She also enjoys taking her two Golden Retrievers on adventures to give her cat at home some peace and quiet.

Ailsa Wilson

Nurse

Felicity Bond

Nurse

Georgina Mann

Nurse


Reception

  • Robyn Murray
  • Annmarie Phillips
Robyn Murray

A lifelong resident of Townsville, Robyn came to the veterinary industry by default and has co-founded and managed the clinic with her husband, Dick Murray.

Thirty-five years later, she has no regrets about not returning to her teaching career, which she loved.

She has an incredible knowledge of our clients and their pets, through several generations.

Robyn is the proud owner of super crazy Nell who is a border collie x and very much loved who now runs her household.

Annmarie Phillips

Annmarie joined the clinic team in 2007. She achieved her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2002.

Annmarie is a familiar face at Reception. She enjoys being on the “frontline” to assist clients and their pets.

She is passionate about Bull Terriers and has successfully competed in dog confirmation shows with her “beloved” bullies.
At home she shares a happy family life with her husband, son, “Rigby” a miniature Bull Terrier, “Shelby” a large crossbreed hound dog,and “Spyro” a Siamese cat.

When Annmarie is not caring for her 2 legged and 4 legged companions, she takes time out enjoying Zumba classes and being creative with scrapbooking, card making and other crafty stuff.


OUR REVIEWS


OUR DETAILS

We are located on Thuringowa Drive, which is a main North-South arterial route in the Western Suburbs of Townsville, north of the Ross River.

We are situated next to a Woolies Servo on the west side of the road and our signage is visible at the kerbside.

We have ample parking in front of our building which is set back from the road, and additional parking at the rear which is accessed by turning left down Castlemaine Street.

If your pet is unable to walk, or you have an emergency situation, please let our friendly staff know beforehand and we can help you from your car.


WORKING HOURS


Mon – Fri
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sat
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sun
Closed
After Hours
(07) 4773 4111

CONTACT DETAILS


(07) 4773 4111

(07) 4723 1043

staff@wsvc.com.au

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