Latest News

22 December, 2013

Kirsty and the kitties do right by the koalas

A few weeks ago, our very own Dr Kirsty went out to meet and greet the baby koalas that are currently being lovingly looked after by Sam, a Wildcare carer and all-round superstar. Sam, at present, is caring around the clock for these juvenile koalas, all of which have lost their mothers to injury.

Being young koalas, tube and/or bottle feeding is necessary, and with this, complications can arise. Many koalas aspirate with feeding. Put simply, they breathe in their liquid meal and developing aspiration pneumonia is a  very real outcome. Sadly, many lose the battle, despite the lengths carers go to, to monitor and care for them. That’s where Kirsty, our Cat Boarding donations and the little paediatric stethoscope come into the picture. By having this single piece of equipment on hand, Sam can closely monitor their little koala’y chests, and start any subsequent - and often life-saving - treatment as soon as possible.

So thanks must go to all of our kitty cat holiday stayers, as by supporting our cat boarding, we are able to do our part to help these little guys. However, as Dr Kirsty says, this is a community job. If you find injured wildlife, take them to your nearest Vet. Check pouches for babies, and extremely important - if they are attached to mum’s teat, do not pull them off. While yes, it sounds a bit full-on, if bub is on the teat, the teat goes too. Donations can be made to Wildcare if you want to help out in other ways, but for now? Join us in the warm glowy feeling of knowing that there's a few little guardian angels looking out for these little joeys. That one day, they may one day grow to be strong and healthy, and return to the wild to sleep, eat and be cute!

Check out the Facebook feed to see our very own Dr Kirsty doing her part to help the baby, orphaned koalas.

To learn more about Wildcare, and the wonderful work they do!

OR perhaps you would like to make a donation?

22 December, 2013
Christmas Dangers - Keep your pet safe this festive season!

Who doesn’t love Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations? There is lots of good food and spending time with all your loved ones (especially the furry ones)! However with all the fun and happenings at this time of the year there are a few extra dangers that might confront your pet. 

  • Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas
    Did you know that grapes, raisins and sultanas can be toxic to your pet? They can cause renal failure, which can show up as vomiting, increased thirst and urination. So make sure you keep your fruitcake, pudding and mince pies out of your dog’s reach.
  • Chocolate
    Chocolate is a big no no for pets, especially dark chocolate. Caffeine, as well as a compound called Theobromine, can cause tummy upsets and neurological and heart problems. So it’s essential that all chocolates are safely stored away. Also be cautious of boxes of chocolates as gifts as they can be placed under trees where dogs may find them!
  • Human foods and Bones
    Don’t feed your pet human foods especially the fat off roasts or bones as they can lead to pancreatitis (a very painful tummy upset) or obstructions from the bone shards.  Other human foods that can be toxic to pets include avocado, macadamia nuts, onion, garlic and dairy products. Ensure any guests or children know not to feed your pets any tidbits!
  • Alcohol
    All alcoholic drinks are very toxic to dogs and cats, so ensure all beverages are kept on a high table and packed away at the end of the evening. Signs you may see include vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In the worst cases it can lead to coma, seizures and death.  
  • Decorations
    Christmas decorations such as tinsel, baubles and ribbon are such fun to play with pets (kitty cats particularly think so), but create a high risk for choking or being swallowed and causing intestinal obstruction. Ensure that your pet is supervised when playing around the Christmas tree and don’t put tinsel on your pet without strict supervision. Ensure that the cords for lights on your Christmas tree are out of your dog’s reach. Puppies in particular are always looking for something to chew and can be electrocuted if they chew through a cable. Christmas trees can also be dangerous as cats can climb and may fall or knock glass decorations down. Boisterous dogs have also been known to knock trees over, so ensure your tree is secure. If you have a live tree ensure your pet doesn’t drink any of the water in the pot as chemical additives and tree saps can be toxic.
  • Presents
    Any presents left under the tree can be interesting for an inquisitive dog or cat so it’s important to keep them out of their reach! Don’t put ANY food presents under trees and be aware that many things can be chewed up before you even realise.
  • Hot weather 
    Heat stress and stroke are much more likely as the temperature rises. Give your pet access to multiple water bowls (weigh them down with a brick if they like to paddle in them). Only exercise your pet in the early morning and late afternoon/evening; if it’s too hot for you to go for a run, it’s too hot for your dog. This is particularly important for brachycephalic breeds (i.e. pugs, bulldogs etc.). You can even consider getting a paddling pool for your pooch to sit in and cool off. Or you can make doggie ice-blocks by mixing some dog treats or food in water and freezing in an ice cream container. Never leave your dog in a car unsupervised even with the windows down as temperatures rise rapidly.
  • Lily toxicity
    Cat owners be careful if giving or receiving flowers, as lilies are toxic to cats and can lead to acute renal failure even after nibbling on a tiny piece of leaf. It is essential that cats never have access to these plants. If you suspect that your cat may have eaten any part of a lily then early treatment is essential to prevent permanent damage or death.
  • Fireworks
    Fireworks can be particularly frightening for dogs, if you are leaving your dog home alone over New Year’s Eve there are a few things that can help ease their stress. Give them lots of exercise prior to leaving so they are worn out and sleepy. Leave them with a chew treat or stuffed Kong to distract them. Ensure they are well confined in a safe familiar space – preferably indoors. And make sure that their microchip and collar tag details are up to date (so if they do escape you can be contacted).
  • Guests
    Christmas and the holiday period can cause a lot of upheaval to pets. New people, boisterous children and lots of family members visiting can lead to anxiety in some animals. Try and keep their normal routine as much as possible, especially in regards to exercise and walks.  Give your pets a place to escape away from everyone if they are feeling overwhelmed. Supervise children very closely when playing with pets. Some children are unfamiliar with how to act – teach them to pat gently and calmly, never go near a dog who is eating or has a toy, teach them the signals that a dog is uncomfortable (backing away, whites of eyes showing, yawning, lip licking, growling) and finally ensure they let the dog be if they move away and don’t chase or follow the dog.
10 December, 2013

Saturday 14th December - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Help us celebrate our very first Christmas - with Santa Paws!
Straight from the North Pawl, Santa and his elf companion Daphne, have come to give your special little friend a Christmas to remember!

  • Pet Pawtraits with Santa - Naughty or Nice, it doesn't matter. Everyone is cute to Santa Paws! (we hear his beard tastes like chicken, and his pockets are a bottomless pit of treats and yum-yums!)

    Compawtitions - Guessing Games, Colouring in for the kiddies (Norman themed, of course!), Raffles and more

    WIN! - Tickets to Queensland Ballet's 2014 Production of Coppelia - A comic ballet originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon, this production by Greg Horsman is set in the small South Australian town of Hahndorf in the late 19th Century, with the original music by Leo Delibes. Tickets are available on the day!

    Best Dressed - Theme: Red, Green & Purple! Have your little one dress up and join the holiday spirit for the chance to win their very own Pet Prize! Either arrive on the day in festive fashion, or post a photo of your little one to our Facebook page to enter. 
    So come along and join in the fun! We want to celebrate this fun and happy time with those we get the joy of spending each and every day with... YOU!

    Proceeds go to supporting Guide Dogs Queensland, and all the work they do with the cute and cuddly puppies that one day, will be the eyes for their vision impaired human friends and companions.

6 November, 2013
FLEAS: Know your Enemy!
3 November, 2013

As we come into the beautiful Queensland spring one problem always pops up in lots of pets at this time on the year – Fleas! On top of making your pet itchy, flea infestation can also lead to a range of other problems.

  • Flea Allergic Dermatitis
  • Flea Burden Anaemia
  • Feline Infectious Anaemia
  • Tapeworm Infection


There are over 1900 flea species in the world. In our pets there is only one species of concern: Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea. This is the flea that we find on our pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, and other species) in 99% of cases. By understanding a little more about this parasite and the conditions it can cause, you can help your pet to live a flea-free life!

The Flea Life Cycle

Once you understand the flea life cycle the easier it is to control any infestation. There are four life stages of the flea and it is important to know how to break this life cycle in more than one place.

The Egg

At any given time about one third of the flea population in your home is in the egg stage. The adult female flea lays up to 40 eggs daily. The eggs are laid on your pet where they fall off to hatch in the environment.

The Larvae

At any given time about 57% of the fleas in someone’s home are in the larval stage. Larvae are like little caterpillars crawling around grazing on the flea dirt (faeces) that is generally in their vicinity. Flea eggs and flea dirt both fall off the host. When the eggs hatch, there is a bounty of food prepared lovingly by all the host’s fleas waiting for the hatchlings.

The Pupae.

Only 8% of fleas make it to the pupal stage but once they have spun cocoons they are nearly invincible. Inside the developing cocoon, the pupa is turning into the flea that we are familiar with. They are especially protected under carpet, which is why carpet has developed such a reputation as a shelter for fleas. The pupa can remain dormant in its cocoon for many months, maybe even up to a year as it waits for the right time to emerge.

The Adult Flea

After the pupa develops, it does not automatically emerge from its cocoon. Instead, it is able to remain in the cocoon until it detects a nearby host. When the mature pupa feels the time is right, he emerges from the cocoon, hungry and eager to find a host. An unfed flea is able to live for months without a blood meal.  After the adult flea finds a host and takes its first blood meal, the cycle begins again. The female flea begins to produce eggs within 24 to 48 hours of her first blood meal and will lay eggs continually until she dies. The average life span of the adult flea is 4 to 6 weeks.

Problems caused by flea infestation

Flea Allergy
Flea allergic dermatitis is the most common skin disease in dogs and cats. It occurs due to the pet’s immune system over-reacting to the saliva from flea bites. This leads to intense itchiness, scabs, open sores and hair loss, often seen around the base of the tail.   For the flea allergic patient, 100% flea control is essential for the pet to remain symptom-free. 

Flea Burden Anaemia

Did you know that the female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily! A very large burden of fleas in small, young, the very elderly or debilitated pets can lead to a severe and life threatening anaemia. Often late in the disease the only successful treatment is a blood transfusion and rapid treatment with flea control.

Feline Infectious Anaemia

Feline infectious anaemia is a bacterial parasite called Mycoplasma haemofelis that is spread to cats by fleas. A cat becomes infected from a bite from an infected flea and soon the cat’s red blood cells are covered with free-loading mycoplasma organisms. The cat’s immune system eventually detects the foreign bacteria and mounts an attack which leads to the red blood cells removal and destruction. The problem is that if many red blood cells are destroyed that the cat becomes anaemic. The infected sick cat is pale and weak, and they will sometimes have a fever. Treatment generally involves antibiotics, flea control and sometimes a blood transfusion and medication to decrease the attack on the red blood cells.

Tapeworm Infestation

There are many species of tapeworm but the one most of us are familiar with is the common tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum. This parasite is commonly spread to cats and dogs by fleas. Humans, especially children can also become infected!  Tapeworms usually do not cause clinical signs unless the tapeworms are present in large numbers. Diarrhoea may occur in this situation. Proglottids (white segments of the tapeworm) may be seen in the faeces and these may cause an irritation which causes the dog to drag its bottom (scoot) on the ground or floor.

Common myths about fleas

• My pet cannot have fleas because he lives entirely indoors.

Fleas thrive particularly well in the warm, humid, well-regulated temperatures in the home.

• My pet cannot have fleas because if there were any fleas they would be biting the people in the household.

Fleas prefer animals as their feeding source, humans are the last choice on the menu and humans tend not to be bitten unless flea population numbers are high.

• We do not have fleas because we have only hard wood floors.

Fleas love to develop in the cracks between the boards of hard wood floors.

• My pet cannot have fleas because I would see them.

You’d be surprised how frequently this is heard, but alas particularly when there is only a small population of fleas they can be surprisingly easy to miss!

Flea control and prevention

Prevention is always better than a cure, so it is imperative to keep your pets covered with regular flea prevention. This is generally a monthly product given as a tablet or top spot (liquid applied between the animal’s shoulders). For dogs, Toowong Family Vet recommends the use of monthly Comfortis for flea control, or for a combined flea and tick preventative, Advantix fortnightly. For Cats we recommend the use of Advocate or Revolution monthly, there are also other options available that you can discuss with your veterinarian.

In combination with preventatives for your pets, it is advisable to use environmental control and regular vacuuming to limit the number of fleas in the environment. Fencing off sandy areas, particularly under houses, can be very advantageous in limiting nesting places for fleas on your outdoor pets.

The truth is this: fleas are always going to be around. You can however, help your pet be as flea free as possible. Know as much about this pest as you do about the dogs and cats that it feeds upon. One thing's for sure - you can't know too much when it comes to flea control!Please feel free to contact us on 3613 9644 or if you have any questions or would like more information.