Rob's Blog

The discussions

New Video Endoscope at Seaforth Vets


Sorry, I have been away for a while, but I'm back with a new video endoscope

On a recent trip to Shanghai I was able to visit the factory that builds these and was highly impressed so I brought one home. Its all about service

Its frustrating for clients when we have to refer them to specialists when in effect its just a lack of correct equipment limiting us. The new endoscope will allow us to investigate the pharynx, the larynx, oesophagus, the stomach and just beyond (the proximal duodenum). Then from the other end the rectum and colon. We have the ability to retrieve foreign bodies located in the oesophagus and stomach without the need for surgery. We can biopsy tumours in any of the mentioned locations. We can photograph and video our efforts so you can now see exactly what we saw. Great new technology. All at high resolution. Also coming soon we will be able to video examine the trachea and nasal passages all very exciting, all at you local vet

Chocolate Toxicity at Easter


Easter is here and so are the eggs
Don’t forget that chocolate is toxic in dogs
Signs of intoxication are from mild to severe in proportion to the amount of chocolate ingested
Mild signs include diarrhoea, vomiting then to developing nervous tremors and even fits. In extreme amounts it can kill
If your dog finds and eats your secret stash it is worth an early visit to the vet to prevent toxicity
Your vet will invariably give them an emetic and treat (if) any presenting signs
For cat owners…. Cats are too sensible to eat the stuff so no worries

Dog attacks in the media


Its always distressing to hear about children being attacked by a dog be it a family or neighbour’s dog
Young children are especially vulnerable and should never be left unsupervised with their own or a neighbour’s dog. Note I say this without reference to breed as all dogs can attack a child. The larger more muscular breeds are capable of more damage and as a result they are often targeted by legislation as in Victoria. But breed targeting is well known not to work
The problem is not one of breed but of dog owner responsibility. Choosing an appropriate family dog, socialising and training it are the most important aspects to minimising dog attacks
If a dog attacks the blame should be placed squarely at the feet of the owner and not the dog itself. Humans are the ones with the logical thought process and ability to predict and reduce risks. We bring the child and the dog into proximity. It is our responsibility to ensure this only occurs in a controlled and safe manner. A lackadaisical approach to ownership puts children and others at risk


Sorry about my leave of abscence on this blog but Xmas and New Year were sooo busy with lots to do. Anyway, the blog is back and I start the new year with some interesting news

A recent study at the university of Melbourne has linked feeding raw chicken necks with Acute Polyradiculoneuritis (APN). This disease resembles tick paralysis to a degree and can be fatal. There is no known treatment. Most animals will eventually get better, but it can take up to 6 months to resolve, stressful for the dog and the owner
The study shows that dogs fed chicken necks are 70 times more likely to get the disease, which is quite convincing
The current recommendation is to cease feeding your dog raw chicken necks

Fear of Loud Noises


Just to remind all our dog clients that if you have a dog that turns into a jelly at the onset of the New Year’s Eve fireworks you can seek assistance from Seaforth vets
These dog’s exhibit generalised noise phobias and often to pieces in storms. There reactions can be extreme such as destroying doors in a frantic effort to escape, in the process they may destroy their nails, causing significant pain and bleeding, it’s terrible. If they escape they often run manic in the street, causing or even getting hurt in car accident
The good news is we CAN help, but you will need to discuss the issue with a veterinarian first. So if you find yourself in this situation please give us a call
 Have a great new year!!



Feed your rabbits a crappy diet!!

At a recent conference I attended a particularly pertinent lecture was given on rabbit diet. Sounds boring but it isn’t. I know we hammer on about diets time and time again, but it is imperative to feed a rabbit as close to what they would eat in the wild. Feed them a crappy diet! Rabbits require high fibre. So, plenty of long stemmed hay and straw should be the main component, the rest being fresh washed leafy greens. This is what kicks their engine over. Without it rabbits can get serious life-threatening gut disease. Yes, it looks boring to you, but you are not a rabbit! Rabbits like kids will happily eat the good stuff (their lollies) and then be too full to eat their hi fibres (the greens)
Another important thing is that hi fibre gives rabbits something to do! In the wild they spend a lot of their day foraging and eating low quality foods. It in captivity it has a behavioural benefit, it prevents boredom
Finally try to keep you rabbit active. Activity has a positive effect on the gut health


Holidays and Ticks

Yes thanks, I had a lovely holiday, here's a hello from a taverna cat in Crete

Tick season is rather interesting. Since the advent of the new dog tick products tick poisonings have dramatically fallen. The last two years have been quiet and this season even quieter, but it is not until the end of the season I can be exact. So far we have only seen 12 cat poisonings with an 8% death rate and 8 dogs with a 38% death rate. Interestingly enough for the past 2 years there has not been one dog who is on the new products (Nexgard and Bravecto) that has died, a resounding endorsment for these products. Recall that the traditional figure of death rate is 6% nationally so we are running a bit high for dogs, probably reflecting they are not Nexgard covered or being brought in at a late stage

It is imperative to have you pet checked by a vet should you remove a tcik and they are showing any abnormal signs such as breathing up, vomiting or wobbly walking. They may just be off colour. Act early for the best prognosis / outcome



Hi, just so you know I'm off for a break and will return on 23rd Oct. You can keep up to date on what's happening at Seaforth Vet Hospital by checking out Maria and Veronica's Facebook and Instagram accounts. See you on my return, Rob


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Chit Chat

Tick season is off to a slow start as it has been quite dry. Expect things to accelerate once the rain starts
Poor Benny the clinic cat has been unwell recently and despite detailed investigations we have not able to identify what is wrong with him. Send Benny your positive vibes for his improved health. I’ll keep you posted. Today he would not eat his dried chicken which is just not benny
I’m off for a break and study leave from 23rd Sept – 23rd Oct. So this blog will go silient during that period but hopefully I will return will lots to say
Jaqueline, one of our morning receptionists returns after a 5-week break. Libby has returned after a 2 weke break in Canada so if we seem a bit mixed up you can understand why. Veronica is off in November


Tick season is here, beware

Tick season is slowly creeping back. August was a slow start but we can expect the season to accelerate from mid Sept on

Click here

for the tickometer and this years preventative recommendations


There is good news in the air for cats

Zoetis announced that the European Commission has granted the company a license for Stronghold® Plus (selamectin/sarolaner), a topical combination of parasiticides that treats ticks, fleas, ear mites, lice and gastrointestinal nematodes and prevents heartworm disease in cats
So this is good news for Aussie cats who are behind the curve on new treatment options for ticks. In Australia the Ixodes paralysis tick kill many domestic cats a year. This was true for dogs, but with the introduction of the new isoxazolines drugs (such as Nexgard and Bravecto, and more lately Simparica) poisonings have dramatically reduced. Figures at Seaforth Vets show a 70% drop in dog poisoning numbers this last 2 years and we have little doubt it is due to this new class of drug. We have great hope for a similar improvement in cats once Revolution Plus for cats is eventually released. However, we are yet to see research figures on its efficacy in Ixodes in cats, but I suspect they will be good

The bad news is that for this tick season, beginning in the coming few weeks time, we will have to make do with what we have. Wwe are a year or so away from the newer products obtaining license for tick use in cats


Planning for the future of your pet

Do you have an older friend or friends with pets? Then I though this recent initiative by the NSW Trustee and Guardian was a good idea. It makes you consider about the options you would want for your pets should something happen to yourself

its something you rarely think about while you are well, but something that would be very stressful to think about were you taken ill
Have a read

Click here


Slowly winding up to tick season

Sorry about the long over due blog but EOFY has kept me busy, thank goodness that is over

Just a reminder that tick season will be upon us within 6 weeks, so think about starting your preventatives early. For dogs on Bravecto and Nexgard you are already ready! For those using top spots we recommend you think about a change over to these newer effective products sooner
For cats its still topspots, namely Frontline every 2 weeks. We are all hoping industry will catch up soon and produce a wonderful new product like the above to keep all our cats much safer than is currently possible
Having said that if you see a tick, then remove it


Feline Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is well understood in dogs. In cats it’s another story
A few years back a new test became available. The Feline Specific Pancreatic Lipase (FsPL). Subsequent to that a lot of vets were diagnosing pancreatitis left right and centre in cats. This is a problem as it is by no means clear that a positive test means that is what the cat is suffering from
A positive FsPL test could be an incidental finding (eg chronic subclinical FP). So how can you be sure what a positive test means
Of course you want to reconcile both the history and clinical examination with this diagniosis. But both can be vague and it can leave you in a difficult situation deciding
Signs include, lethargy, pyrexia, inappetence, dehydration, vomiting, abdominal pain. The first five signs are none specific and can be a result of many things. Abdominal pain is rarely present in cats with FP. So as you can see it’s not a straight forward diagnosis
Many times FP occurs in association with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and / or liver inflammation and this can help in the diagnosis
The bottom line is not to jump to the diagnosis just because you have a positive test make sure you have eliminated other potential causes of what you see and when there are none, a diagnosis of FP seems a reasonable assumption
To make things worse there is no specific treatment
Great, a difficult to diagnose disease with no specific treatment! Make our lives difficult why don’t you cats
We treat cases symptomatically. Pain relief if in pain. Antivomiting medicine if vomiting. Fluids if very unwell and dehydrated.  Antibiotics if deemed appropriate. Appetite stimulants if off their food. Steroids occasionally. Treatment may last from a few days to weeks


CPD in Veterinary Medicine

Did you know that all vets like doctors undergo a process of Continuing Professional Development? (CPD)
Fresh out of vet school you are pretty much slap bang up to date on all that is new and happening in the vet world. As we get older that knowledge ages with us
The licensing bodies of vets in Australia and around the world all monitor that registered vets partake in CPD, ie keeping their skills and knowledge up to date, ensuring that the public receive currently accepted  diagnostics and treatment regimes
CPD takes many forms. We receive many professional journals each month. We maintain a library of current books that we often refer to. We attend traditional conferences here and abroad. We might log in and watch webinars or even be part of a large veterinary network of specialists such as VIN where we can obtain advice on difficult cases. We can phone and e-mail local specialists.  Pharmaceutical companies often run a series of seminars. Specialist centres such as SASH are particularly good at offering CPD points to attend evening talks in a whole variety of fields
It all takes time and money on top of what is already a busy life. It is often motivating and fun. Bringing back new knowledge to the practice is a reward in itself, you would be surprized how soon you can put your new knowledge to work



Issues in the news recently

A new strain of canine parvovirus has been discovered in Australia. There have been no confirmed cases in NSW to date. Typical in house tests used by vets to diagnose parvo, fail to detect the new strain. Further the current vaccine does not protect against it, both of which are worrying. We’ll keep you posted
BFF (Best Feline Friend) diet has been withdrawn for sale in a potential association with toxicity / deficiency. Signs are neurological (loss of balance, strange gait). There is a possibility that it may just be well know thiamine deficiency which is easy to treat. Again we’ll keep you posted
Feline panleucopaenia (enteritis) virus has reared its ugly head again. As with many diseases good vaccination cover in the feline community tends to hide such nasty diseases but be aware it is still out there and to the question “do we really need to still vaccinate against feline enteritis?” the answer is yes


Finally, good news, we can now offer all our new puppies and kittens with 4 weeks free PetPlan insurance, great news

Click here to check this out


Electronic tracking of you pet

I was asked the other day whether there are any GPS trackers for pets. Everyone knows you can locate your iPhone or Android using a find my phone feature should you ever use it. I jokingly suggested he buy his dog an iPhone, he will not only look cool you will know where he is if he ever strays off
With technology advancing so quickly I suspected there are many start ups offering such a device
A search of the internet reveals a local company in Australia who does offer such a tracker
Maybe they should have chosen a name other than PetRek though? Sounds a bit like they met with a car accident
The device fits both cats and dogs. It works on GPS and GMS. The combo of the two methodologies helps increase accuracy of location. If you cat is locked in a garage GPS will be poor, this is where GMS (ie mobile phone sim card etc) comes in
Battery life is about 2-3 days for normal use. This means you need to charge yet another device! However maybe they could invent a cat / dog bed with induction charging! Might keep them warm at night too
Have a look at
for a review of 13 other trackers on the market
They are a good idea, let’s hope they prove as useful as the microchip has


Accidental poisonings

To lose a loved pet to an unintentioned poison must be one of the worst things so it’s good to be on your guard and anything you are unsure of ask the vet first

Common toxins that clients are often unaware of include

Onion / garlic toxicity in dogs

Chocolate toxicity in dogs

Grape toxicity in dogs – this also includes the dried variety (currents, sultanas)

Xylitol poisoning in dogs. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener and is fine for humans, but in dogs it can be quite toxic. Be careful what low cal treats you give to your dog

Paracetamol poisoning in cats. Don’t get tempted to give your limping cat a paracetamol tablet, it can be fatal

The list is not exhaustive but just supplies you with unexpected examples to put you on your guard! The bottom line is ask your vet if you are unsure


Soreness as it cools

It always amazes me how the moment it gets cooler all the arthritic dogs start to come in. By those I mean newly diagnosed, as we know the cold weather will always aggravate an existing condition
Clients seem surprised about the diagnosis but osteoarthritis (OA) is a while in the making, but can present acutely, when gingered up
Besides being a chronic soreness, it can make dogs and cats grumpy, put them off their food and reluctant to go on walks
The early signs have been there for a while, but can be subtle and you just did not know they were there. Stiffness the morning after exercise the day before is often an early sign. Cats not liking being picked up, bit grumpy, not jumping to previous heights etc can all signal early OA
The good news is that this is one of those older patient conditions that are easily treated with lots of options
So if you are suspicious your older dog (or cat!) is suffering from this disease contact us and we can help


Looking for Gaston ? -

Gaston is a lovely ginger boy kitten, who was sadly dumped on our door step a few weeks back. This young boy is full of fun and keeps Maria very busy as she works in her office upstairs. He is desparate for a loving family. If you are at all interested in a test drive please call Maria or Rachel on


Thanks, Dr Rob


Four weeks free puppy and kitten Insurance

Coming soon
As an authorised representative of PetPlan we are delighted to be able to offer all our new puppy and kittens with 4 weeks of free insurance. Cover is immediate for accident and illness and there is a 3 day waiting period for illness. Be sure to make use of this generous off, there are no obligations at all

Combined with our free puppy / kitten checks thats a great deal


Puppy and kitten free post purchase check

Did you know we offer a free health check for your puppy or kitten after purchase? You will also recieve a free puppy/kitten pack and 4 weeks free insurance so you have nothing to lose and lots to gain. Contact us today and book your appointment


Rabbit Calicivirus release imminent, while kittens also at viral risk

The government will release the K5 variant of the Rabbit Calicivirus in the first week of March, earlier than expected. Please read the post below concerning this nasty virus

At the same time it has been announced that Feline Enteritis Virus (also known as Feline panleucopaenia) has hit Sydney. It is more important than ever kittens have their first vaccine at 6-8 weeks old. Signs include acute onset diarrhoea and vomiting. They may feel hot and very lethargic nor will they drink or eat. Mortality is high. Those surviving this phase (lasting 2-5 days) may survive


Welcome to a hot 2017

Well you were all very good! There was little in the way of emergencies this Xmas and New Year. Having navigated that tremulous period we head into 2017. With high temperatures in early January the next big worry is Heat Stroke, and we have already experienced some cases

Keep in mind that both animals and children die in hot cars every year. The same message is repeated yearly but it obviously cannot be repeated often enough. The temperature in a sealed car can rise rapidly as shown in the diagram

If the outdoor temp is 35 C then within 10 min it can rise to an unbearable 46 C, within 30 min to 54 C. Without any way to cool the animal can go into shock and and suffer a terrible death
Please be careful and do not risk leaving them in a hot car for what you might think is only a brief time


Important news for rabbit owners and their vaccines


The Australian Veterinary Association recommends that rabbits are now vaccinated against RHDV (calicivirus) as follows

Kittens: At 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age, then 6 monthly for life

Adults: 2 vaccinations 1 month apart, then 6 monthly for life

This protocol is off-label and the current vaccine is not registered for 6 monthly use or for use against RHDV2 (see below)

Basically we only have one vaccine and it is thought that increasing the frequency of vaccination will help protect against new strains of the virus

The new virus strains

Disease causing strains of this virus include

RHDV 1 – The original virus released in 1995 to control wild rabbit populations. At that time a vaccine (and still the current one) was developed to protect pet rabbits and rabbits in breeding establishments. This vaccine has worked quite well

Due to its falling efficacy of killing wild rabbits, researchers developed a newer potent strain, TO BE RELEASED IN Autumn 2017….

RHDV 1 - K5 The updated “man-made” virus

You may also have heard of

RHDV 2 - First recorded in mid 2015 in Australia, 2010 in Europe is a naturally occurring variant

All these virus strains kill rabbits

So how do we protect our pet rabbits given these new threats?

A limited study indicated that the current vaccine cross protects against V 1 – 5. It seems strange to me that they are willing to release a really nasty virus strain (V1 – 5) based on a limited study that suggests your pet may be safe if using the current vaccine

In my view it is a highly unsatisfactory way to proceed, a sort of “Well ïf there is a big mess, we will deal with that later” hmmm

Can you imagine them doing this to cats? Dogs?? There would be an outcry


Just about there

Wishing all our clients and their pets a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Hoping you all keep safe. See you in 2017


A busy approach to Xmas

Xmas is approaching fast and things are getting busy! December has been a real tick month, dogs fairing better than cats in survival rates. We look forward to the day we get an equivalent of Nexgard for cats

Our main Xmas reminders are

    Avoid giving your dog the left over ham! unless you want to see them suffer painful pancreatitis

    Avoid dogs hacking the chocloate stash, tastes nice, but it is poisonous to them

    Avoid the cat chewing the xmas tree lights cable, in a dizzying flash they can be electrocuted, or at least have a burnt lip and whiskers

and for new year....

Dogs can be terrified with all those fireworks. If you have a dog that goes to pieces at the sound, then call us and we can help you lessen their stress

Have a great Xmas and New year


Cats in Morocco.....

On every trip abroad I cannot help but seek out local cats. No matter where I travel, it’s amazing how I find similar characters to those I know locally in Australia. Cats don’t speak Russian, or Moroccan or any language. Wherever I am cats understand my English equally as well as Aussie cats (ie they don’t understand it at all!) So, cat language is all about behaviour, which is great, they have a universal language, Cat Esperanto
I also like to judge a society on how they treat animals. Do they show understanding and show respect and compassion? Or are they dismissive and cold
On my trip to Morocco I was pleasantly surprized how kind the Muslim population generally were to their stray cats. I never saw them chasing cats away or being cruel. In particular, I saw people with little of their own helping little lost kittens with food and water. They are not pets, just tolerated strays. They play their role in keeping vermin populations down. At the Alhambra palace in Spain there are quite a few cats which again are well tolerated. Local guides complain that tourists pay more attention to them than the palace at times
Here are a few photos I took on the way

This little ginger chap was in the Royal Stables in Meknes, all very friendly. Mum was nearbye keeping a watchful eye

with a lot of trafic all about someone was keeping an eye on these little refugees in Essouaria

And in Aroumd a cat showing poise as it watches the tourists march by




Moving right along...

After 18 years loyal service to Seaforth vets our practice manager Jane (Molchanoff) will be moving onto pastures greener. Jane will be taking up a new challenging position with Bear Cottage in Manly. We wish her well in this new venture
Her last day at Seaforth Will officially be on Friday 23rd of Sept. but you may still see her around covering some Saturday shifts while staff are on leave

Maria Scott (our long time morning receptionist) will be taking up many of the admin duties previously performed by Jane, so be nice to her

There should be some new faces at Seaforth vets when you next visit, we are look forward to seeing you there


Pet Registry News

Clients now have better control over their pet's lifetime registration

Kittens must be desexed before 4 months of age to qualify for discount registration. We recommend desexing at 4 months of age. Early desexing is safe for the details visit

    New owners will be asked to create an online profile to claim their pets once microchipped. They will use the microchip number, their contact telephone number or email to locate the pet on the registry
    Current owners will be asked to make a profile, update their details and claim existing pets on the registry through their new profile - this will require pet microchip numbers
    Owners can update their details and transfer pet ownership online making it easier for vets and approved persons to contact the owners of lost or injured pets


Tick update and Lyme disease

Clients are doing a great job protecting their pets this spring. So far it has been a quiet beginning to tick season, but you cannot be complacent. Sadly, we have already had one death. Keep up the good work. Prevention is far better than a cure (and a whole lot cheaper) when it comes to ticks. Our main concern on the Northern beaches is to avoid tick paralysis, as it is a killer

I am occasionally asked by clients can dogs get Lyme disease? The answer is yes. The microbe responsible for Lyme is transmitted by ticks. In dogs the signs include acute onset high temperature with a shifting lamness (one leg to another) and lethargy. Occasionally kidney failure can occur. Definitive diagnosis is by antibody levels, but these take 3-5 weeks to rise, so at the time of illness you have to use indirect methods of diagnosis. Treatment is simple, with the antibiotic doxycycline. However if there is kidney involvment there are a number of other issues to address


New specialists on the Northern Beaches

Just getting the message out there that Dr David Collins and his colleagues are developing a new specialist centre for Northern Beaches pet owners. Known as NVS (Northside Veterinary Specilists) this service works out of the emergency veterinary centre at Terry Hills. Their services include specialists in internal medicine, surgery and dermatology. Physiotherapy is also available by Kristine Edwards. It's great to have something more local. We still continue to refer to SASH and Crows Nest, it just extends the choice for all our clients


Pet Registry News

In NSW for some time it is a legal requirement that your pet be microchipped and registered with the NSW Pet Registry

A new feature is that clients can now create their own account on the registry that allows you to update your details - eg change of address, telephone number etc

Please note that dogs desexed before 6 months of age get a reduction in registration costs, while for cats it is 4 months. Your vet can if necessary delay the 4 month date to 6 months (which has been the common desexing age) if they feel the kitten is too young to desexed for medical reasons

click here to go to the pet registry


Prophy dentals not just for Dental Month

We are delighted to announce we are now carrying out prophylactic dentals at a knock down price. Its great to be able to offer dental work at a price that is affordable, and will keep your feline or canine friend smiling for years

All our clients should shortly receive an e-mail of this offer. If for some reason you do not hear from us give us a call on


and our receptionists will provide you with all the details


Ticks are back... early

I'm not usually writing about ticks this time of year, but please note we have had 2 tick poisonings cases in already. One dog and one cat, both have happily survived

Last season with the introduction of Nexgard we saw a dramatic improvement (reduction) in tick poisoning in dogs. Unfortunately that product cannot be used in cats. However there is a new flea collar for cats that might just help and we will be promoting it this year at Seaforth Vets. Our reviewed tick prevention pack is now ready to view, read the details

Read here


The Mumbo jumbo of detox..

I don’t know how many years I have been reading about detox. Being confined to the human field I have never paid too much attention to the issue, however I suspect they will start marketing to pet owners in the not too distant future, then it enters my domain

If an animal is truly intoxicated, ie has been exposed to a toxin (a substance that causes illness or death), eg heavy metal poisoning, chocolate in the dog, paracetamol in the cat etc then it needs to see a vet! These are true toxins

The vague toxins of the marketeer are never really mentioned. They like to provoke the thought / fear that your pet may be loaded with them, yet relax! they have the solution for cleansing them from your pet’s body. Phew, close call! Thank you Mr Detox

In truth only your wallet will have been detoxed - of money - after all money is the root of all evil

If you come across pet detox scams steer well clear. At best they will do nothing (other than make you poorer) or at worst could potential intoxicate your pet



Wallace finds a home

Stray Wallace the bunny came to us on the 14th June this year. Despite our best efforts no-one claimed him. The future was looking bleak for Wallace. However he proved to be such a lovely rabbit, seeking out attention whenever and wherever he could find it the staff fell in love with him! At one stage it was looking like we would have a pratice rabbit, but luckily for Wallace Virginia came to the rescue finding him a wonderful family home. A good ending to a sad cotton tail



There are many aspects to writing prescriptions. Vets are not legally bound to providing prescriptions. So why, when, how much and what are the legalities we must follow? Read my new article that attempts to explain the many aspects to considered when and if we write prescriptions




Making your life easier

Finding it difficult to get to the vet? Then do not worry

 At Seaforth vets we have a comfortable ambulance we can use to

Perform house calls, typically available from 2-4pm weekdays

Collect your pet and transport it to Seaforth Vets

Take your pet to out of hours hospital care

Take you pet to specialist centres

Maybe you are infirm and find the trip to the vets just too difficult these days? You may have a pet who just gets too stressed at the vets! Maybe it is a sad end of life decision where you want the whole family around in familiar circumstances. Either way knowing we are there to help is a comfort

The ambulance has proved a great boon to the practice, and reflects our endeavour to provide new services to our clientele, making your life easier



Insuring your pet, a great idea

Many clients have already cottoned onto the usefulness of insurance for their pet
When your pet is ill that is stressing enough but the added prospect of a large veterinary bill can make things even more stressful
With insurance, if and when the worst happens to your loved pet you then at least have peace of mind that you do not have to worry about financing the treatment, you can say yes with confidence that the best possible treatment approach can be adopted for the best outcome
“Vets are so expensive these days”. I have heard this view every year for the past 26 years as a vet.  We are not cheap, that’s for sure. You are employing the use of a highly trained professional every bit the equivalent of a human doctor or lawyer
Back in the James Herriot days what vets could do was very limited. Clients were happy with the simple approach. These days’ pets truly are a member of the family and client expectations are very high. We pretty much do anything a human doctor can do with a massive range of diagnostics and treatments available. Meeting this expectation veterinary fees have risen, but keep things in perspective, the equivalent human case would often cost 3-5 times what a vet charges. Because of Medicare you do not see the true cost of human medicine. The politicians who do see the books and have to create budgets understand how expensive human medicine truly is
So strongly consider insuring your pet
Who do we recommend? We are not allowed to recommend any particular insurer. Rather we suggest you do your own research, particularly looking at the fine print as to what is and isn’t covered
Our from desk has a list of all available pet insurers and is freely available on request

New Gold Standard Vaccination protocol


WSAVA Vaccine Guidelines 2016

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) have a vaccine guidance group (VGG) who meet periodically to produce guidelines for best practice in vaccination of cats and dogs. They have recently updated their recommendations

Over the past 9 years they have identified what they refer to as core vaccines and non-core vaccines

Core vaccines are what we should all be doing (eg parvo vaccines), and non-core refers to vaccines that may have local relevance depending upon where you live in the world, eg rabies vaccine
In this part of Sydney, we only require the following vaccines

For cats this means

*Feline panleucopaenia virus (FPLV)

**Cat flu vaccines

Calicivirus (FCV)

Herpes Virus (FHV)

For dogs this means

*Canine Distemper (CDV)

*Canine Infectious Hepatitis (CIHV)

*Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

**Kennel Cough

Parainfluenza virus

Bordatella Bronchiseptica (a bacterial vaccine)

The current recommendations


* vaccines are given every 3 years

** vaccines are given yearly

It has not been until this year that vaccine manufacturers have caught up so we can now fully comply with this in both dogs and cats

Don’t worry, we will know which vaccine you pet requires when you visit

Puppy and kittens

We have long performed vaccinations at 8-9 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks old

The new recommendation is that we should also perform a final vaccine at 26 weeks old as studies have shown that a significant percentage of animals after the 16-week vaccine do not have sufficient immunity until they have their first annual booster. So rather than wait 12 months we now give the first booster at 6 months old and refer to this as the fourth puppy/kitten vaccine. This coincides with Desexing at 6 months old

At Seaforth Vets we are committed to Best Practice and we will be following the above guidelines, reviewing them with time as new guidelines become available

The risks of over eating


This is a not so funny story of a poor 2 yo Westie who ate himself death

How is that possible

The young dog broke into a 3 kg bag of a commercial dry food when left unsupervised at home. Sounds very innocent. He ate just over 1 kg of the food (he weighing 5.7 kg himself) doesn’t sound enough to be fatal. The thing is it was not the volume of food that did for him but the salt content of that food. This equated to 23 gm of salt (less than 4 teaspoons). However, salt can be fatal at 4 gm/kg which is what he ingested - hypernatraemia
One would think that washing him through with intensive intravenous fluids would have correct the issue but unfortunately this failed to work, he succumbed and died from salt poisoning. Very sad. The take home message is keep your dry dog foods safe for the possibility of ad lib feeding as it can and has resulted in death


You may never have to surgically desex you cat or dog again


Block Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) in mammals and you block fertility
Get the body’s own white cells to target GnRH and the result is infertility
But GnRH is not targeted by one’s own body as it belongs to you! it is not foreign
However, put the GnRH in an inactive virus shell and vaccinate with this and one can get the white cells to produce anti GnRH antibodies
In this way GonaCon a vaccine for Deer in the USA has been proven a success
But duration of immunity is limited due to the relatively short life span of the white calls
Can we get cells with a long life to produce these antibodies instead?
Bruce Hay of the Californian Institute of Technology Has identified muscle cells as a potential candidate
If the system works these cells could continue to produce antibodies for around 10 years
Just imagine then, no more surgical desexing, wonderful
It’s something well worth working towards. Last year 2.7 million cats and dogs were euthanased in USA, extremely sad. Controlling reproduction rather than killing is the ethical way to go
Also imagine the benefits to the wild rabbit populations in Australia
It’s a cause well worth supporting

link here to original article


The Postman Knocks Twice... then runs


In the UK one Bella Sampson, a 4 yo female cat has been labelled a potential hazard to the local postman who complained to his employers, the royal mail, that his fingers were at risk when posting the mail through the Sampson’s letter box

Apparently Bella lies in wait and when the mail arrives she attacks through the letter box! Thinking it one big game
On the other side of the door is the terrified postman who only sees her raking claws! As a result the owners of Bella have been advised to “restrain their cat at all times” or provide an "alternative safe" post box, otherwise deliveries will be suspended

Read the full story here

New Cat Vaccination Protocol


Shortly we will be changing over to a triennial cat vaccine protocol similar to what we do in dogs
This arises as at last manufacturers have separated the cat flu from the feline enteritis (FE) component
FE becomes a 3-year vaccine and the cat flu remains yearly
However what else is new is that kittens will now have a final (4th) vaccine at 26 weeks which generally will coincide with Desexing. The motivation for this comes from research suggesting that up to 1/3rd of kittens who had their last vaccination at 16 weeks fail to maintain their immunity to the first booster vaccination
Most of the work here falls to the vets and not the client, our records will tell us what are due and when


Buying online drugs


In a recent media release the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has pointed out the risks of buying medicines online. We would like to add our weigh to this and note that up to 50% of medicines sold online are fake. Worse still they could potentially be toxic to your pet
So if you care for your pet do not think about taking the risk
We fully endorse any Australian supplier who have a fixed business address within Australia as they must be licensed and comply to the strict but excellent regulations in place to protect not only our health but that of our pets


New drug for itchy dogs


Over use or inappropriate use of prednisolone for itchy dog skins has been a contentious issue in veterinary medicine for at least the past 30 years! The problem is it works well, quickly and is cheap and why so many clients demand it
However, from a Vet’s point of view we know that chronic use of prednisolone can cause may health issues. It has a list of side effects as long as your arm. Specialists rile at its overuse in general practice
Chronic allergic skins may reflect contact allergy, food allergy or atopy and these can be investigated for specific treatment
The good news is that there is a new drug on the market that can help control allergies of all types very effectively with minimal side effects and none of the long term safety issues associated with prednisolone, or the other highly expensive drug cyclosporin often used in chronic skins. Oclactinib has been in use in the USA for around 5 years with good reports of efficacy
So if your poor old scratchy dog cannot get any peace and you are fed up with the side effects and worries of prednisolone make an appointment to discuss the possible use of oclacitinib in your dog
Yes, at this stage there is no license for its use in cats, but the research is under way

The grapes of wrath


Easter is over, thank goodness so hopefully no more chocolate toxicity in the dog until xmas
We had a call this week. “My dog ate 6 grapes” have I poisoned it?? Hmm
Maybe 6 years back reports began to appear about grape toxicity in dogs. In excess they can cause renal failure. This is rather a strange discovery in my mind as dogs and grapes have both been around for thousands of years, yet we have only just discovered this? Another Hmm
Maybe it has more to do with pesticides used in agriculture these days
So how many grapes can be a problem? US specialists say as little as 0.7oz / kg of dog (yes, when are they going to use grams??). with the average grape weighing 5gm (this depends on which country you are in!) then this works out to be about 4 grapes per kg of dog. So a 18 kg staffie say would have to eat in excess of 72 grapes to risk poisoning. So I would not be overly worried about the 6 grapes reported above

Comings and goings at SVH


It goes like this. Nurse-wise
Welcome Lara, Sinta, Jaimie and Brooke, goodbye Linda, Maya and Jess
Linda went off to travel Australia with the grey nomads
Maya back to Brazil and will resume her veterinary studies when she returns, but in QLD
Jess has been studying accounting some time, and has made the move to that profession
We will miss them all but would have loved them to have space it all a little better
All the same they were a great help to Seaforth Vets and we wish them all the best of luck in their new lives
What has happened this week
The AVA informed me of the Lateline story on commercial pet food diets in Australia
So what is it all about? It seems quite a few commercial cat food diets don’t stack up to what is on the side of the pack content-wise, brands are not mentioned
 We are told “This was a preliminary study that looked at samples from 20 cat foods. The authors found discrepancies between the contents and the labels.” and  the AVA stresses people should not panic
I agree that pet food manufacturers need to deliver on what they promise on the side of the pack
However, it should be noted that the study was performed by a student pursuing a master’s degree and needs further verification and also a response from the manufacturers
 There should be continuous in house quality control that ensures delivery of what is promised.  This does not mean their diets are injurious to your pet
Now, Easter. Every year chocolate toxicity is a big issue. Be careful with those eggs. The dog will find them long b4 the kids! Unfortunately, chocolate is toxic above a certain amount in dogs so best just avoid it altogether. In extreme cases it can kill, so do not take the threat lightly
 Cats are smarter, they don’t like chocolate - they asked me to point this out

Have a great Easter, see you next week, Dr Rob

Welcome to my Blog


Hi there, thanks for visiting my Blog. Hope you find it informative

It's March already and predictably we are still very busy! It tends to be May before the year begins to quieten somewhat

So it is the end of tick season. And a strange season it was. Less patients but more severe cases. Usually we see 6% mortality but this year it was more like 12%.  The reduced numbers I feel were mainly due to canine cases and the fact that we are encouraging uptake of Nexgard tick protection, this has been well embraced by our clients

The message is, if you are still on a topspot then seriously consider updating to Nexgard when you finish your current supply

The new website is up and running, all the information, more than 100 pages, all reviewed and now viewable from any mobile device, so that is great news

Important News!! Ever hoped for more than prednisolone for itchy skins? Until now the options for allergic skin conditions has been referral for hyposensitizing  vaccine or expensive cyclosporine. Well it’s here at last, Apoquel for dogs. Read the details here and you will soon consider the switch to this much safer and very effective drug

 Well must go lot’s to do, see you back here next week, Dr Rob

Easter and Rabbits


Rabbit owners please be aware that the council (lovely people) will be releasing an even deadlier form of the calicivirus soon. Ensure your rabbits vaccines are up to date to avoid the tragedy of this nasty disease