Friday 19 December 2014

Your Christmas List

The festive season is upon us. With all the fun, social engagements and last minute shopping it can be hard to remember the extra risks to our pets that come with this time of year. Hopefully this can be a brief reminder of who to make this time of year festive fun for the fur family.

Before traveling please check that:
- Vaccinations are up to date. (This is essential for those animals attending boarding facilities.)
- You have an adequate supply of any medications or prescription food.
- You are prepared for disease risks particular to the area or travel (for example heartworm or ticks).

With the warm weather it is important to be mindful of those pets that need special care. Older pets, overweight pets and those with heart disease will suffer in, or even succumb to hot weather.  It is a good idea to avoid exercise in the heat of the day, provide ample shade and multiple, plentiful water sources.

This time of year also results in more lost pets. With holidays and fireworks many of our furred family can become frightened and escape. We can minimise the risk by ensuring your pet's microchip details are up to date, ensuring fencing is secure and monitoring local papers for announcements of any fireworks.

Don't forget a special present for your pet on Christmas Day. Perhaps a new collar, lead or a special healthy treat from our Christmas tree.  

Avoid a common Christmas emergency trip to the vet by ensuring that your pet doesn't help themselves to any Christmas or BBQ food. Unfortunately we often see a few very sick animals after getting into rich food, the rubbish bin or even a full kebab stick. As much as we love seeing you we would rather keep your pets safe and happy.

The team at Bendigo Animal Hospital wish you and all your family (furred or otherwise) a very happy, healthy and safe festive season.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Working Towards One Health in Indigenous Australia

 I have just spent a week in Tennant Creek volunteering with Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMIRRIC) vets and the Animal Management team of Barkly Shire. We were there as part of a dog health program in the local indigenous communities.

Tennant Creek

Tenant Creek is the main town of Barkly Shire and home to approximately three thousand residents. Barkly Shire is the largest shire in Australia, about the size of New Zealand. Tenant Creek’s history began with gold mining, an industry that has mostly closed down. Now it is the service centre for the Barkly Shire and the large indigenous community which live there.
AMIRRIC is a not for profit organisation providing animal control and health programmes for indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. It survives on government and private grants, and uses both salaried and volunteer veterinarians to run their programs. I suggest you visit their web page provided below to learn more about their important work.

Dr John at work
Graham - part of the team


The working conditions were pretty tough, the camaraderie was fantastic and the result was that we desexed about 100 animals and improved the life of many others.
Promoting One Health
The highlight for me was when I was invited to speak to the men’s group. Culturally indigenous people have always had a very close relationship with their dogs and dingoes, they coexist harmoniously. AMIRRIC works to educate the community that their dogs’ health can impact their own health, that of their children and of the environment. This is also called One Health.
The Bendigo Animal Hospital is investigating adopting an indigenous community which would see one of our vets and a nurse travel twice a year to the community for a week. We would provide routine animal health management, desexing, parasite control and vaccination.
We are starting a fund, initially using our vaccination fund, to help raise some money to allay the cost of sending a team to central Australia. We would also like to provide an opportunity for a local young person to come and spend time with us at the Bendigo Animal Hospital to develop some veterinary nursing skills.
I would like to acknowledge AMIRRIC for the great work they do and for giving me this opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the lives of animals and people in indigenous communities.
If you would like to find out more about AMRRIC activities or how to contribute please visit their website -
Dr John

Friday 14 November 2014

Bringing a Bit More Kindness into the World

Dr Jess with Pompy Do the pig 

If you’ve visited our clinic recently, you may have noticed that we are helping to raise funds for Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary. Edgar’s Mission is an animal rescue organisation which is very close to my heart. It's an organisation to which I devote much of my spare time and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the wonderful work that they do.

Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit farm sanctuary that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans. The sanctuary was founded by Pam Ahern in 2003 and was named in honour of her first rescued pig, Edgar Alan Pig. The sanctuary was originally set on 60 acres just outside of Kilmore, Victoria. However the ever growing number of animals finding their way through the gates of Edgar’s Mission created a need for a bigger property. The new “forever home” of Edgar’s Mission was found on a gorgeous 153 acre property in Lancefield, Victoria. Pam and her dedicated team are currently in the process of building their new sanctuary and moving the resident animals to their new home. 

Leon Trotsky the piglet with Edgar's Mission founder, Pam Ahern

Edgar’s Mission has orchestrated some of the largest farm animal rescues to have taken place on Australian shores. Last year alone, the sanctuary rescued an incredible 3002 animals! While some of the homeless, abused, injured and abandoned animals that make their way to Edgar’s Mission will find a life-long home at the sanctuary, others will be found a permanent home through the sanctuary’s adoption program. Today, Edgar’s Mission provides a loving home to over 350 animals, including: pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, cows, horses, ponies, deer, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and peafowl.

In addition to offering shelter and care to farm animals in need, Edgar’s Mission works to expand the public’s circle of compassion to include all animals. They endeavour to achieve this through their humane education program and their work in advocacy and public outreach. As they encourage people to embrace their mission of kindness the team at Edgar’s Mission ask that people consider the question, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others…why wouldn’t we?”
Little Miss Sunshine the rescued battery hen

You can help us raise funds for Edgar’s Mission by bringing your furry family member into the clinic for a nail trim. Bring your dog or cat into Bendigo Animal Hospital for a $5.00 nail trim and we will donate 100% of the proceeds to Edgar’s Mission.

Edgar’s Mission is hoping to open their new farm gates to the public for visitors in the New Year. I hope to see some familiar Bendigo faces down on the farm!

Dr Jess

Ruby the kelpie with Penguin the kid
(We are pleased to see little Penguin doing so well after her rough
start in life, which brought her to Bendigo Animal Hospital)

For more information about Edgar’s Mission visit

You can follow Edgar’s Mission on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Dr John’s Adventures on the Great Gibb River Road

 Having recently returned from an amazing trek in northern Australia, I wanted to share with you my experience travelling the Gibb River Road.
We flew to Darwin, a fabulous city, for a four day winter sojourn.  There was bike riding along the waterfront, swimming at the wave pool, a visit to the War Museum, great food and finally the Mindal Market experienced under the glow of the best sunset.
On the 30th June we picked up our 4-wheel-drive bush camper and headed to Katherine, which is a thriving place. The sunset tour on the Katherine Gorge has to be on a ‘must do’ list.

After Katherine we crossed over into Western Australia and went to Lake Argyle.  This is an amazing place. The Ord River was dammed creating the biggest lake in the southern hemisphere. It supplies water for a vast irrigation scheme in the Kimberly where massive sandalwood plantations are being developed. The lake is home to incredible wild life, lots of different birds, fish and over one hundred thousand fresh water crocs. We took a sunset cruise on the lake which ended with us all jumping in and swimming around in the middle of Lake Argyle, with the crocs!

From Lake Argyle we drove our trusty troopie to the Bungle Bungles (Purnululu). Here we walked the many magnificent gorges experiencing the changing colours of orange, red, pink and purple with the movement of the sun over the sandstone escarpments and gorges.

Then we were off to El Questro, great gorges, hot springs and the start of the Gibb River Road. The Gibb River Road is mostly dirt, running from Derby to Kununurra. It passes through vast savannah grasslands with sandstone escarpments and ranges, such as the King Leopold Range.

A detour up to the Mitchell Falls and camping at Drysdale Station tested my 4 wheel driving skills but overall we were lucky with the road conditions and river crossings. We hiked into the falls, had a great swim and helicoptered out, a real highlight as it was our first helicopter flight. We had an amazing view of the eighty meter falls and can only imagine what they would be like in the wet season.

From there we continued along the Gibb, stopping in at Galvin Gorge and Bell Gorge for well-deserved swims. We camped on Bell Creek near the local Aboriginal communities’ swimming hole where we befriended some local kids. Over the next couple of days James (my son) and I had a ball with them, swimming and swinging from their rope swings.

Then there was bush camping at Lennard River and visits to Winjama Gorge and Tunnel Creek. If you want to see fresh water crocodiles, Winjama Gorge is the place to go, they line up like cars in a car park basking in the sun.

The Barnett River Roadhouse and the Iminet Store provided us with fuel, ice and more importantly a latte to go. Finally we made it to Derby and Broome where it was back to hot showers and comfy beds.  Cable Beach has to be one of the best beaches in the world.

I forgot to mention that the Boab trees, synonymous with the Kimberly, are now my favourite.

It was thirty degrees with blue skies when we left Broome, arriving in Melbourne to the winter chills was quite a reality check.

To top off a wonderful trip the practice didn’t miss a beat, we have such great staff at the Bendigo Animal Hospital!

Dr John

Thursday 3 July 2014

Winter Blues

Winter has arrived which is the perfect time to snuggle in with our furred friends. Unfortunately Winter can lead to a few health problems in our pets, the most significant of which is arthritis.  Arthritis is often insidious in its nature and can creep up on pet owners without making itself apparent.  Once a pet is placed on treatment for arthritis many owners report a huge improvement in their pet's demeanour and activity levels. Comments such as "I didn't realise how much pain he was in" are common. Our pets are stoic and uncomplaining making it all too easy for us to attribute changes in behaviour to getting old when in fact they are suffering from a very treatable disease.
Well, for what signs should we be on the look out?
Changes can be subtle such as rising from bed later in the day and unwillingness or hesitancy when jumping to and from furniture on which the pet would normally sit. You may notice a pet appearing to have a stiff gait when first rising or after a period of exercise, a pet may be less interested in play and interact less with the owners.
At more advanced stages we can see obvious pain on rising, limping, or reluctance to move.
What can we do about it?
The single most effective treatment is also the least expensive with no negative side-effects and many positive ones; that is maintaining a lean body condition.
Protecting your pet from cold weather particularly where they sleep greatly reduces the clinical signs of arthritis.
Supplements are also worth while to consider, these can be in the form of a complete prescription diet such as Royal Canin mobility or Hills j/d, or as supplement to add to another food such as Joint Guard powder or chews.
Your veterinarian may also suggest a course of injections for arthritis treatment.  At B.A.H. we use the product Synovan which is very safe in our older pets and works by promoting blood flow to the joints, improving the quality of the joint fluid and by providing nutrients necessary for cartilage health.  The initial course comprises 4 injections given weekly.  After this a single booster injection is given as needed depending on the individual pet but no greater than 6 months from the previous injection.
If necessary non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be prescribed.  Your vet may recommend intermittent or daily use depending on the pet's condition.  These medications are in general very safe but can have serious side effects if not monitored.  Ideally pets should have a blood test every six months.  If your pet is on anti-inflammatories and develops vomiting, diarrhoea, dark or black faeces you should stop giving the medication and contact your veterinarian.
In more advanced cases of arthritis your veterinarian may add in a range of further pain management drugs which would be tailored to the individual pet's condition.
It can be difficult for us to see gradual changes in our pets so if you think your pet might have arthritis please visit your veterinarian who can thoroughly examine your pet and discuss any concerns.
B.A.H. in partnership with CEVA Animal Health have a special offer helping you combat arthritis on two fronts. New pets starting a synovan course receive a free bag of joint guard chews. To take advantage of this offer please book your pet in for an arthritis assessment at Bendigo Animal Hospital this month.
Remember the single most effective arthritis treatment is to keep your pet in a healthy lean condition. So enjoy your snuggle on the couch but keep up the exercise or reduce the food to match their energy expenditure.

Dr Lyndel

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Welcoming Dr Jessica Coates

Bendigo Animal Hospital would like to give a warm welcome Dr Jessica Coates. Dr Jessica is a graduate of The University of Melbourne who has recently made the move from Kilmore to Bendigo. Jessica has a particular interest in behaviour and is passionate about furthering animal welfare. Jessica has devoted much of her spare time to volunteering at Edgar's Mission which is a not for profit sanctuary for unwanted and neglected farm animals. Jessica is kept busy with her own menagerie of one dog, two cats, eight chickens, two roosters, three drakes, eight ducks and three peacocks.
Please look out for Jessica when next in clinic, she is looking forward to becoming another familiar face in our team.

Dr Lyndel

Monday 5 May 2014

A Little Bit About Guinea Pigs

Have you thought about keeping a pet pig?  Guinea pig that is.  Guinea pigs are cute and cuddly members of the rodent family that usually weigh between 700 and 1200 grams when fully grown.  When frequently handled they show great personality and can be a perfect fit for people looking to gain a smaller member of the fur family.  Some basic knowledge of diet and husbandry usually leads to a very easy to care for pet.  Guinea pigs need a diet of grass hay, green vegies and a commercial pellet food such as Oxbow Guinea Pig Food.  Guinea pigs are social and often vocal pets.  When very happy guinea pigs will popcorn which is somewhat akin to jumping for joy and a delight to see.  
You may like to watch some live Piggy Moments, perhaps even see some popcorning  on  This new site is being set up as a forum for guinea pig enthusiasts.
For information on caring for your guinea pig provides a great resource for guinea pig owners. 
 Dr Lyndel

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Senior Pet Care

Is your pet 7 years or older?
Then it's time For Your Pet’s Senior Wellness Exam, especially as winter approaches.
As our pets grow older we expect to see some changes, but what is normal aging?  And how do we best care  for them at this life-stage?

There is great variation in our dog & cats life expectancy but as a general rule any pet 7 years or older is considered middle aged or old aged.  
Normal changes include gradual hearing loss, greying fur, particularly around the muzzle, loss of muscle tone and a blue appearance to the eyes.  However, there are many diseases that can also cause these or similar  changes.  It is all too easy to dismiss our pets’ slowing down to old age when if fact they are often suffering with very treatable diseases.  For this reason it is even more important to get wellness examinations with your veterinarian. 

Here at Bendigo Animal Hospital we recommend a Senior Wellness Examination every 12 months and in some cases every 6 months.  These examinations are a great opportunity for you to receive tailored information on how to accommodate your pet’s changing dietary, exercise and environmental needs and will aid in the prevention of disease or early detection is the best path to keeping happy healthy furred members of the family.

For more information or to see how old your pet is in human years go to the link below.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Pet Food Safety

As a naive young veterinarian and pet owner I was until very recently under the impression that commercial pet food had to be safe for pet consumption.  The pet food industry is in fact self-regulated under the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia Code of Practice, however, pet meat producers do not operate under the same regulations.  (How could I be so silly as to think that pet meat was pet food?)
Disappointingly pet meat can legally contain levels of preservatives that cause serious clinical disease in our pets.  Even those foods that meet Australian standards are not necessarily tested to ensure they are safe and complete.
At Bendigo Animal Hospital we are happy to discuss appropriate nutrition for your pet.  We have a new range of diets in clinic that provide preventative nutritional support.  Hill's VetEssentials is a range of premium pet food that supplies a superior complete diet for your pet.  These scientifically backed foods have added benefits to aid healthy digestion, manage your pet's weight, keep adult teeth healthy, provide all the nutrients for superior skin and coat health as well as providing your dogs with nutritional support for their joints and providing your cats with a diet appropriate to maintain bladder health.
Feeding a clinically proven diet of the best quality provides peace of mind that you are providing your pet with the nutritional support for a healthy, happy life.

Dr Lyndel

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Have You Noticed the Revolution Happening at Bendigo Animal Hospital?

Parasitic infection is one of the most significant preventable diseases in your dogs and cats. Parasites can be passed from pet to pet, from the ground and environment, from some types of food, and from biting insects such as mosquitoes. These parasites can be affecting your pet’s health with very little external sign of infection. It is also very important to remember that your pets love sharing, even giving some of their parasites to you and your family.
Diseases that affect human and other animals are called zoonoses. Zoonotic parasites that affect your pets include toxoplasmosis, ringworm and roundworms. When these parasites infect humans (not their preferred host) they can cause serious diseases such as loss of pregnancy, skin disease and vision loss.

There are three main types of parasites that we need to consider when talking about your pet’s parasite control. These are:

• External parasites - your common fleas, mites and ticks.

• Intestinal worms - round worms, hookworms and tapeworms

• Heartworm - a parasite which lives in the blood stream or heart and is spread by mosquitoes.

We know keeping on top of all these parasites can be confusing, especially with the range of products available in pet shops, online and in supermarkets.

The Veterinary team here at B.A.H. have looked at the options. In most situations we feel that Revolution will provide the most complete, safe and easy parasite control for your fur family. Remember protecting your pets along with basic hygiene is also the best way to protect your human family.

Revolution, unlike other products is not a poison. It has a wide safety margin which means even if your pet somehow gets the incorrect dose they shouldn’t have any problems.

Revolution provides comprehensive flea protection. Did you know that only 5% of a flea population is on your pet? The environment is where 95% of the problem lies. Revolution treats your home as well as your pet, with dander from your pet becoming toxic to the juvenile flea life-stages.

Revolution also has heartworm covered. Heartworm is a deadly parasitic infection where mosquitoes pass the blood born parasite from an infected dog to other pets including cats. Infection results in serious heart and lung conditions or even sudden death.

Cats treated with Revolution also benefit from its protection against intestinal worms.

To make keeping your dogs healthy and happy Revolution even supplies your intestinal worming tablets when you purchase a six month supply.

Watch the video to see how easy it is to apply Revolution.

Remember that if you are unsure about the use of any parasite control products it best to check with your veterinarian. There are many myths about pet health care some of which can be dangerous. For example, giving garlic to your pet to prevent fleas, which may work, but only at levels that are toxic to your pet. We recommend never giving garlic to your domestic pets.

Every pet and family is different so no one parasite solution fits for everyone. If you plan on travelling with your pet please have a chat with your veterinarian as there are different parasites and diseases that may need consideration. Your veterinary clinic is the best resource for finding the right solution for to keep your family protected. To celebrate our Revolution, Bendigo Animal Hospital is offering 25% off 6 month supplies of comprehensive parasite protection for the month of March.

Dr Lyndel