138 Castle Hill Road
West Pennant Hills
Mon to Fri: 9am-12pm, 3:20pm-6:30pm
Sat: 9am-12pm, Sun: 10am-12pm
Our veterinary team is comfortable dealing with a range of medical problems from sudden or acute illness to long-standing problems (known as chronic diseases).
Some of the most common diseases we see and treat are:
The management of many medical problems will require further testing, ongoing monitoring and recurring consultations. The majority of diagnostic testing can be done within the clinic. We will work with you to find a treatment option that suits your pet and your budget. We do not have overnight care facilities, so for particularly complex or critical cases, we will recommend referral to a dedicated 24-hour facility.
Our veterinarians are experienced and comfortable with a wide range of routine soft tissue surgeries. Our surgical theatre is equipped with high quality anaesthetic equipment and monitors and a nurse is dedicated to monitoring the anaesthetic and assisting the surgeon. Soft tissue surgery involves an operation on any tissue that is not bone. Some examples of common soft tissue procedures we perform are: lump and tumour removal, bladder stone removal, foreign body removal, wound repairs, eye surgery, ear surgery and removal of an infected uterus.
For more advanced or orthopaedic procedures, we are able to book a mobile specialist surgeon. The specialist surgeon visits the hospital to perform the surgery and we manage the hospitalisation, anaesthetic, medical and pain management for the procedure. The specialist will communicate with you on the completion of the surgery and leaves detailed instructions on after-care. This allows the skill and experience of a specialist surgery to be performed with the convenience and reduced cost of not having to travel to a specialist centre. There are certain procedures that require specialist equipment or ongoing monitoring and necessitate referral to a specialist centre, for example hip replacement, spinal or brain surgery.
Modern anaesthetic agents are extremely safe and monitoring equipment with dedicated nursing means that the risk of complications is very low. However, the risk is increased in sick patients or a patient with sub-clinical disease. To identify patients at increased risk your veterinarian may recommend a pre-anaesthetic blood test. If you have any concerns regarding your pet undergoing an anaesthetic or procedure, then a blood test is a good option at any age.
Prior to a procedure, it is important to fast your pet. We would recommend taking food away from 10pm the night before admission. Allowing access to water until admission is acceptable. The exception to this is rabbits. Rabbits are not able to vomit and it is important for their health that their gut is active. Problems with gut stasis and dysbiosis in rabbits is the most common reason for anaesthetic complications and death. Food and water should be offered to rabbits until admission and some favourite foods should be supplied when admitting your rabbit for us to offer as soon as practical in recovery. Generally, we require your pet to be dropped off between 8:30am and 9:30am. A consent form with an estimate will be provided to review and sign. If you have any specific questions about the surgical procedure, it is best these are raised prior to the day of the procedure where-ever possible as a vet may not be available at the time of admission. We request that you call us around 3pm to book a discharge time. Your pet will usually be discharged with medications to manage pain and discomfort and may have additional medications, including antibiotics, where appropriate.
Diagnostic testing is often used in conjunction with a history and physical examination to determine what is wrong with a patient and to manage or monitor a condition. There are a number of different diagnostic tests that we may perform, the majority of which we can carry out within the clinic. These can be relatively straight-forward tests such as taking ear or skin samples to look at under the microscope, or they might involve specialised equipment to measure intra-ocular pressure or blood pressure.
Clinical pathology refers to the use of laboratory equipment to analyse blood, body fluid, urine, faeces or tissue. Laboratory tests can be done in-house or sent to our referral laboratory. The veterinarian will decide which is more appropriate depending on the urgency of the case and the test that is required. Our on-site laboratory equipment will provide a result within the hour but the referral laboratory provides a wider range of tests, the ability to add additional tests and to discuss the results with an internal medicine specialist. Depending on the nature of the testing required, samples sent to the external laboratory may be analysed and reported within as little as 12 hours or may require several weeks to provide results. Your veterinarian will usually provide an estimated time for the results to be returned but please confirm with them the best time to call to discuss the results.
Radiography (or X-ray imaging) is an extremely valuable way of examining internal structures without the need for an invasive procedure. Radiography is used to examine bones and also soft tissue structures within the chest and abdomen. To obtain the best quality images, reduce the radiation exposure required and allow enhanced manipulation of the images, we use computed radiography rather than traditional film processing radiography.
Patients who require an X-ray examination will usually be admitted to the hospital. The reason for poor quality X-rays is movement and poor positioning. Therefore, unless your pet is particularly unwell, they will usually require some form of chemical sedation or anaesthetic to prevent movement. As a sedation or anaesthetic is involved, we require a patient to stay in hospital for at least a few hours and to be fasted for ideally 10 hours prior to admission.
Ultrasonography or ultrasound examination is the use of a specialised machine to generate high frequency sound waves which bounce off the tissues of the body and are received by the probe and interpreted by the computer processor to generate an image. The sound waves are harmless and painless but the examination requires skill to perform and experience to interpret. Ultrasound allows the operator to image organs and structures that X-rays cannot identify and the two imaging techniques are complementary. X-ray imaging is suited to situations where there is lots of air in a cavity and ultrasound is suited to conditions where fluid has accumulated within a body cavity. As the two methods are complementary, it is not unusual to perform them both on the same patient in the same day. This approach provides the most information and increases the likelihood of obtaining a diagnosis during their hospital visit.
Dr Stephen Reis has completed further education in ultrasonography and performs the scans on weekdays only. Stephen is not a qualified ultrasonography specialist so for some studies we will recommend booking a specialist ultrasonographer from Veterinary Imaging Associates. This specialist is mobile and will attend the hospital to perform the scan.
Unless the examination is urgent, we will usually admit patients who require an ultrasound examination to the hospital. The patient will usually need to lie still on their side for 30-60 minutes so a sedation is usually required. In cats, it is not unusual for a general anaesthetic to be required to keep them still. The fur on the patient’s abdomen and flank is shaved to allow good contact between the ultrasound probe and the skin. The area is moistened with alcohol and a special coupling gel is applied. The presence of food can interfere with an examination so it is requested that the patient is fasted for 10 hours prior even if chemical sedation will not be required.
Dental disease is one of the most common ailments seen in veterinary medicine. It is estimated that approximately 87% of dogs and 70% of cats are affected by dental disease by the age of three years (reference British Veterinary Association). The most common form of dental disease seen is periodontal disease which is an inflammatory disease affecting the supporting structures of teeth. There are multiple reasons why dogs and cats are so frequently affected by dental disease. These include breed, chewing behaviour and diet, developmental defects and prior or concurrent infections. Animals with dental disease will have some or all of the following signs:
It is very rare for animals to go completely off their food. Some animals will just gulp their food if the discomfort of chewing is too great. If you think about yourself with a sore tooth, you would continue to eat but you might eat more slowly or choose different foods.
The best form of treatment for dental disease is prevention. This starts early just like for us. We don’t wait until we need a filling before we decide to brush and floss! The gold standard for preventing dental disease is daily brushing. You should not use human toothpaste as animals cannot spit and the fluoride in these products will build up to excessive levels. The brushing itself is the key preventative. The pet dental toothpaste is supportive but not crucial. It may help with a pet accepting the process due to the flavourings in the pastes. The focus should be on brushing the gumline and if your pet has limited tolerance for the process, focus on the key teeth of the canines and the large grinding teeth at the back of the mouth (carnassial teeth). Alternatives to brushing include all or some of the following:
Generally speaking, dogs and cats should have a chewing session for 5-15 minutes twice a week. Raw bones may be suited to some animals but there are risks if an animal does not chew these properly or if an inappropriate bone is given. If a raw or manufactured dental treat is given and it is consumed in under 5 minutes, it is unlikely to provide much dental benefit for the pet.
Most cats and dogs, at some point in their lives, will require professional veterinary dental treatment. As animals do not allow a thorough oral examination and treatment while conscious, this is performed under a general anaesthetic. This is particularly important as the scaling probe vibrates rapidly and needs water to stay cool. If we do not have a tube sealing the airway, water could get into the lungs creating a life threatening infection. Once the patient is asleep, the airway secured and the mouth packed, it is the same process in animals as for people. The mouth is rinsed, the teeth are examined and probed, digital dental radiographs are often required as a large proportion of dental disease occurs below the gumline, the teeth are scaled and then polished. The mouth is rinsed again, any wet fur dried and the anaesthetic is turned off and a nurse will monitor their recovery from anaesthetic.
Dental disease in rabbits does occur but is much less common than in dogs. It is usually due to either poor tooth alignment or food that is inadequate in fibre. Rabbit teeth grow continuously so need to wear down by chewing appropriate foods. If a rabbit has significant dental disease, this is difficult to treat and can lead to bone infections and death. Having your rabbit’s teeth checked regularly as part of annual check-up is an important way of preventing this life threatening condition.