Updated COVID-19 Protocol 1st November 2021

As of the 1st of November 2021 we will be easing our COVID-19 consultation protocols. We thank you all for your ongoing understanding and patience during this period and look forward to working towards a little more normalcy.

The Consultation/Admission Process

  1. When you arrive at the clinic for consultation or admission, please remain in your vehicle and call us on 62302262 to notify us of your arrival.
  2. We will send you a text message once we are ready for your pets consultation/admission. One healthy adult may accompany your animal, please sanitise your hands and the door and check in with the QR code displayed.
  3. At the end of the consultation, we would appreciate contactless payment where possible.

Food/Medication Collection Process

  1. Please order food and medication in advance.
  2. When you arrive at the clinic for collection, please sanitise your hands and the door and check in with the QR code displayed.
  3. Ensure there is adequate space for you to socially distance before entering the waiting room.
  4. In some cases you may be asked to wait outside for a short period of time until there is adequate space to enter.

Thank you again for your understanding, we look forward to seeing you and your pet soon. For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on (02) 6230 2262.

Rabbit Vaccine Shortage October 2021

Vets at Amaroo has been advised that the Cylap Rabbit Vaccine is out of stock Australia wide, with more supply expected to arrive in early 2022. In the meantime, we would like to pass on some information that could help to keep your rabbit safe.

What is Rabbit Calicivirus?

Rabbit Calicivirus (also known as rabbit haemorrhagic disease or RHD) is caused by the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), a type of calicivirus which is fatal in non-immune rabbits. There are currently three pathogenic strains of this virus in wild rabbit populations in Australia, vaccination offers protection from some but not all of the strains.

How is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus spread?

  • Contact with infected rabbits (surviving rabbits can continue to shed RHDV for at least a month after they recover)
  • Fomites (objects) including contaminated food
  • Insects (flies, fleas and mosquitos)
  • Birds and mammals that eat infected rabbit carcasses may excrete infectious viruses in faeces

How can I reduce the risk of RHDV infection?

RHDV can remain in the environment for an extended period and can be transmitted on objects and via some insects. The following precautions can reduce the risk of infection:

  • Keep your pet rabbit indoors
  • Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits
  • Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials including cages, hutches, bowls etc, with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide
  • Do not pick food (such as grass or vegetables) for your rabbit from outside of your yard
  • Limit contact between and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits
  • Decontaminate hands, shoes and clothing after handling other than your own rabbits
  • Control fleas
  • Control insects (especially flies) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors
  • Remove uneaten food on a daily basis

More information on RHVD can be found here. Otherwise, feel free to give us a call on (02) 6230 2262.

Spring Safety Reminders

With the change in season comes a few new safety topics for pet owners to be aware of. In this article we will be covering four Spring and Summer related health topics;
– Grass Seeds
– Heat Stress
– Snake Safety
– Paralysis Ticks

Grass Seeds

Unfortunately with the beautiful spring weather and rapid growth of vegetation comes grass seeds. These seeds have a sharp tip and barbed end, allowing them to puncture skin easily and even migrate through the body. At Vets at Amaroo we often see patients who have these little suckers in their paws, ears, eyes, nostrils and even genitals, ouch!

The best way to avoid grass seeds is to avoid long grass, keep grass on your own property mowed and don’t allow your pet to run through long grass on walks. If your pet has long fur, trimming their fur (especially their paws) can also dramatically reduce their chances of ending up with grass seeds.

For more information and a list of symptoms to keep an eye out for, see: Grass Seeds Information.

Heat Stress

Heat Stress is extremely dangerous for our pets, in severe cases it can cause irreversible damage to internal organs and can even be fatal. Unlike us, our pets unable to sweat and are not able to cool themselves as effectively. As pets rely on panting as their primary way of eliminating excess body heat, brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds are much more at risk due to their inability to breath and pant as efficiently. Pets who are overweight, have heart disease, are very young or very old are also at increased risk.

Ensuring your pet ALWAYS has access to water, shade and a well ventilated area is the number one way to prevent heat stress. Exercising your pet at cooler times in the day and not allowing them to over exert themselves is also extremely important.

For more tips and tricks see: Preventing Heatstroke.

Snake Safety

As snakes hibernate during the colder months the vast majority of snake bites take place in Spring and Summer. Snakes are commonly found in areas with long grass, rocks and other hiding holes, often near a fresh water source such as a creek or dam.

It is important to remember that most snakes will try to avoid you and your pets. However, whilst we humans may simply walk away from a snake, our pet’s are inquisitive, armed with natural hunting instincts and when given the chance, will harass snakes often resulting in snake bites.

The best ways to prevent snake bites are:

  • Avoid areas with grass any longer than ankle height
  • Always keep your dog on lead when walking, do not let your dog investigate off path/in long grass
  • Keep your backyard tidy, mowed and remove any rubbish that would make a nice hiding spot for a snake
  • Consider building a cat enclosure for cats that like to venture outdoors

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weakness
  • Collapse (can seem to ‘recover’ shortly after)
  • Twitching of the muscles
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Dilated pupils non-responsive to light
  • Blood in urine
  • Paralysis

What to do if you think your pet may have been bitten by a snake:

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep them as quiet/still as possible whilst seeking immediate veterinary attention. Snake bite envenomation is life-threatening, the sooner your pet is treated the better their chances of survival.

Unless you are certain the snake is dead do not put yourself at risk trying to identify it. Never attempt to catch or harm a snake.

Additional information on prevention and treatment of snake bites can be found, here.

Paralysis Ticks

Although they are small, paralysis ticks are not to be underestimated. These critters are capable of killing an unprotected pet within 3-4 days of attaching.

Prevention is far safer (and kinder to your wallet) than treatment, and is now available in lots of convenient options such as flavoured chews and long lasting topical treatments. Whilst protection should certainly be considered Australia wide in the warmer months, it is absolutely imperative that all pets are protected before travelling to the coast or to Sydney.

It’s also worth noting, not all ticks are dangerous. Bush ticks are occasionally seen locally but do not cause illness. If you find a tick on your pet, bring it with you to the vet to be identified.

Early signs to look out for include:

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Staggering or wobbly legs
  • Breathing difficulty, coughing or noisy breathing, changes to the sound of their bark/meow
  • Vomiting
  • In later stages. collapse and paralysis

Most pets who are treated quickly for tick paralysis will survive, so please do not delay treatment.

For more information on any of the above topics, please don’t hesitate to phone us on (02) 6230 2262.

WE’RE STILL HERE FOR YOU – CONTACTLESS CONSULTATIONS

During the ACT lockdown we will remain open to assist you and your animals, however, there will be changes to our services and protocols.  We will be now be moving to contactless consultations, admissions and food/medication collections. 

You Will Need:

You will require access to a mobile phone and a credit/debit card for payment (we will not be accepting cash).
All dogs must please be on lead, all cats and rabbits must arrive in a pet carrier.

  1. When you arrive at the clinic for consultation or admission, please call us on 62302262 to notify us of arrival and confirm your best contact number for your appointment. Please wait outside the clinic with your pet and use the QR codes provided to ‘Check In’.
  2. When safe to do so, a nurse will meet you outside to collect your pet and bring them into the clinic. The vet will phone you on your preferred contact number and commence the consultation. During the consult you will still be able to tell us your concerns and ask us questions, and we’ll still be able to give your pet a physical examination, explain diagnoses and treatment options.
  3. At the conclusion of your consultation you will either be placed on hold for a receptionist to process payment over the phone, or the nurse will bring an EFTPOS machine to youfor payment when returning your animal to you.

Food/Medication Collections:

  1. When you arrive to the clinic, please wait outside and call us on 62302262.
  2. A receptionist will process payment for your food or medication over the phone.
  3. The item will then be either placed at the front door for your collection.

We thank you again for your understanding and patience during this turbulent time.
We’ll be sad not to see people’s smiling faces in our consultation rooms, but we are very serious about maintaining health and safety for you and for our staff, so that we can be here to maintain the well-being of your pet.

Stay safe and look out for each other.
Vets at Amaroo
62302262

UPDATE – We’re Upgrading Our Practice Management Software & Online Booking Has Been Temporarily Disabled

Hall Vet Surgery & Vets at Amaroo look forward to launching our new software system on Monday the 28th of June.

Over the past 3 months we have been preparing for both Hall Veterinary Surgery & Vets at Amaroo to make to switch to a brand new software system. This change will give us access to more advanced, robust and future focused technology and ensure that we can spend more time doing what we do best – helping you care for your fur babies!

So what does this change mean for you?
We expect this upgrade will improve your experience with us by reducing the technical ‘drop outs’ of our phone and computer systems, especially at our Amaroo branch. The new system will also allow you access to a new and improved online pet portal, a place where you can view your pet’s vaccination status, book appointments and access documents like invoices from previous visits. All of your pets existing medical history will remain active and accessible in the new system and we will continue to be sharing records between Hall and Amaroo for your convenience.

We hope that the transition will cause minimal disruption to our clients but do ask for your patience with us whilst we navigate and get comfortable with our new system over the coming weeks.

Key dates/notes:

• Our existing online booking portal has now been closed. We look forward to providing you with a link for the new and improved portal soon.
• Team training is taking place this week (Monday 21st June – Saturday 26th June), with closure of business during lunch hours daily. We apologise for any inconvenience.
• The new software system will be launched next week (Monday 28th June), please be patient with our team whilst we navigate the new system. We will endeavour to keep disruptions to a minimum but as with any major change some technical niggles are to be expected.

UPDATED COVID-19 REQUIREMENT RELAXATIONS – JUNE 2021

We’d like to once again thank all of our fantastic clients for their understanding and compliance with our temporary COVID-19 requirements over the past 12 months. In light of the low incidence of COVID-19 in the ACT, we will be further relaxing our requirements as of the 1st of June 2021. The safety of our staff, clients and patients remains our top priority.

Updated requirements as of 1st June 2021:
  • Please use provided hand sanitizer prior to entry.
  • All people entering our premises must ‘Check In’ using QR codes displayed on the front door & reception desk.
  • If your are arriving for an appointment and there is enough space in the waiting room for you to safely practice adequate social distancing, you are now welcome to enter without phoning reception first.
  • We ask that you please limit the number of humans to only those who must attend. If more than one person is attending your appointment we kindly ask that you phone reception on arrival and wait in your car until instructed to enter.
  • If you are experiencing any cold/flu like symptoms, or are returning from a known COVID-19 area of concern, please phone us to reschedule your appointment or arrange a contactless consultation.
  • If you or your pet are more comfortable waiting outside you are welcome to do so, please phone reception on arrival and we will text your mobile when we are ready for you to enter.
  • You are now welcome to pay via card OR cash.

If our waiting room is at capacity when you arrive one of our staff may ask you to briefly wait outside until there is enough space for you to safely practice adequate social distancing.

These requirements are subject to change in accordance with current ACT Health recommendations without notice.

Thank you again for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to find the best balance between convenience and caution.

WE’RE HIRING – FULL TIME/PART TIME RECEPTIONIST *APPLICATIONS CLOSED*

*please note, applications for this position are now closed*

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Hall Veterinary Surgery & Vets at Amaroo are looking for a full time or part time customer care extraordinaire to join our team! If you are passionate about the veterinary industry, providing customer service excellence and creating moments that matter, what’re you waiting for?

About The Role:

• Full time position is 38 hours per week including some Saturdays
• Part time applicants also considered
• Located in picturesque Hall Village & Amaroo Shopping Precinct
• Fast-paced, challenging and rewarding role supporting a team of skilled veterinarians and veterinary nurses
• $20-$26/hour dependent on age and relevant experience

About The Perks:

• Above award remuneration and paid parental leave
• Ample opportunities for career progression & growth
• Supportive team environment committed to continual improvement
• Free parking at both clinic locations
• We aim to roster 4 day work weeks for full timers with 1 in 4 Saturdays
• Need we mention the puppy & kitten cuddles..?

About Us:

Hall Veterinary Surgery has been part of the Hall community for 30 years and has proven to be a trusted choice for Canberran pet owners.
In recent years we opened a second purpose-built clinic, Vets at Amaroo. This clinic is situated in the relatively new suburb of Amaroo approximately a 15-minute drive from Hall. https://amaroovet.com.au/

We pride ourselves on delivering gold standard care to our patients and their humans through our friendly and personalised approach.  We have a dedicated customer care team who are passionate about going the extra mile to assist our clients.

About you:

Our ideal candidate;
• Has experience in a customer service role
• Finds satisfaction in helping clients when they need it most
• Is excited by the opportunity to push themselves, learn and grow
• Is resilient, enjoys a challenge and shows initiative
• Possesses a high level of emotional intelligence & self awareness
• Is a team player, dedicated to working together to succeed
• Is passionate about animals and is excited to pave out a career in a veterinary profession

Applications:

If this sounds like the job for you we’d love to hear from you! Email a one page cover letter outlining why you’re the best person for the role and your up to date CV to April Maney – april@hallvet.com.au
Please include your availability and whether you’re interested in a full time or part time position.

Trainee veterinary nurses will be considered for this position, however we cannot guarantee trainee nursing shifts for the first year of your employment with us.

Applications for this role close at midnight on Sunday the 23rd of May.

*please note, applications for this position are now closed*

We’re Hiring – Cert IV Qualified Veterinary Nurse Wanted!

Hall Vet Surgery and Vets at Amaroo are looking for a Certificate IV qualified veterinary nurse with minimum 2 years of nursing experience to join our team. We are well-equipped small animal practices located in Canberra, who deliver the best care to each and every patient and have lots of fun along the way.

Hall Veterinary Surgery has been part of the Hall community for 30 years. We are located on the outskirts of Canberra in a village atmosphere and surrounded by nature with a great coffee shop just down the road. https://www.hallvet.com.au/

Recently, we opened a second purpose-built clinic called ‘Vets at Amaroo’. This clinic is situated in the relatively new suburb of Amaroo approximately a 10-minute drive from Hall. https://amaroovet.com.au/

Opening our second practice gives us an opportunity to expand our wonderful team of Nurses. Bonus points for an applicant with a keen interest in mentoring and training our wonderful junior nurses.

Our Senior nurses take pride in maintaining a high standard of care for every patient. Whilst they are all highly trained and professional they also love to have fun and celebrate the wins along the way. We are looking for someone who is confident in anaesthetic monitoring (including BP and ETCO2) and emergency and critical care cases, is experienced in nurse consultations (including arthritis injections, post-op rechecks, suture and drain removals etc) and is an all-round legend who gets along well with a wonderful and diverse team of people. A great sense of humour is also an essential skill for this role!

If you think you are the amazing person we are looking for please send your resume and cover letter to:
Keely Scotland
keely@hallvet.com.au

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT IN DOGS

Did you know that obesity is the most common nutritional disorder seen in cats and dogs? Many of us don’t even realise that our dog has become overweight as it often takes place gradually over time.

As much as we love to spoil our pets, that extra treat in the morning and the odd bowl of leftovers every other day can have serious and detrimental effects on your dogs health and well-being. Research shows that being as little as 20% overweight can greatly increase the risk of your dog developing serious health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, arthritis and painful joint problems, urinary stones or heart disease.

Not only does carrying excess weight have a negative impact on your dog’s general wellbeing, happiness and overall quality of life, it can also significantly shorten their life expectancy compared to a healthy-weight pet.

WHAT CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN?

Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by feeding too much or a decrease in exercise and in many cases it’s a combination of both. But there can be other contributing factors too, such as;

  • AGE – Older dogs are less active, have less energy, and require fewer calories, which is why nutrition formulated for his age is vital to his weight and overall health.
  • DESEXING STATUS – Desexed dogs have a decreased metabolism, meaning they require 30% less food overall than their un-desexed counterparts.
  • OVERFEEDING – Dogs with unlimited access to food understandably eat more than they need — this includes table scraps and extra treats from family members.
  • QUALITY OF FOOD – Many supermarket type commercial foods are loaded with salt and fat. This improves taste, which means your dog will usually love it, but it won’t love them back.
  • BREED – Some dog breeds are typically more food motivated and less active than others making them more likely to gain weight.
  • MEDICAL PROBLEMS – Weight gain can be associated with medical disorders that may require veterinary treatment.
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SO WHAT CAN I DO?

Committing to getting your pet back to a healthy weight is step one. To understand your pets goal weight and how to get there, we recommend booking an appointment with your vet. Weight loss should gradual and steady in order to be safe. Once you know your pet’s goal weight, there are a number of methods you can implement to help them get there.

  • DIET – Proper nutrition plays a very important role in treating an overweight dog, speak to your vet about the best weight management diet for your pet. Use the correct feeding guide and measure your pets daily meals with a measuring cup or scales. Make sure to account for any treats, dental chews etc. in their daily feeds.
  • EXERCISE – Promoting regular exercise will not only assist you in decreasing your pets weight, it will increase their overall happiness and quality of life.
  • WEIGH INS – Regular weight checks will let you know whether you’re on the right path, allow you to adjust feeding amounts and also help to keep you motivated by showing you how far you and your pet have come. You are always welcome to pop in and use our scales for weight checks, no appointment needed.
  • ACTIVITIES – As well as regular exercise, playing games or activities is a fun way to get the whole family involved in your pets weight loss journey.
    1. “Puppy Ping Pong” is a game that will not only get your dog moving but will also help to reinforce their recall! Have family members stand apart and take it in turns to call your dog to encourage them to run to you, reward the behaviour when they get to you with a small amount of boiled chicken breast, carrot or other healthy treat.
    2. “Find It” Is great for exercise and mental stimulation. Cut up some carrot or pumpkin into small pieces and throw them around your backyard. Your pet will be on an adventure lead by their nose to try and find the food you threw.
  • TIPS AND TRICKS – Make swaps where you can e.g. try swapping your pets schmackos or pig ear for a carrot. Rather than letting your pet hoover their biscuits straight from a bowl, disperse their food over a large area or use a treat ball to make them work for it!

If you’re unsure if you pet is a healthy weight or you’d like more information on weight management, please give u a call on (02) 6230 2223.

HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR DOG ACTUALLY WANTS TO BE PATTED

It’s a fact. Not all dogs like to be patted, at least not all of the time. 

Dogs have preferences as to where, when and how they like to be touched. They also have preferences for who they like to be touched by. Just because they love a chest scratch from their care giver, doesn’t mean they want the same from a stranger. Even in the same household a dog may enjoy a particular interaction from one member of the family, but not from a different member. The good news is that it’s easy to ask a dog if they like the way you’re touching them. It simply requires some knowledge of dog communication and attention to their body language.

Many dog owners are sure that their dog likes being hugged, however in dog language, hugs can be aversive, and represent intimidation and restraint rather than affection. It’s true that some dogs tolerate or even enjoy a hug, but for the majority a hug is not an enjoyable interaction. 

We need to recognise and teach children to learn our dogs “no” signals. When you approach to pick up or hug your dog become aware of attempts to avoid the impending interaction. If you bend down and your little dog moves away, they probably don’t like being picked up much, let alone hugged. Many dogs tolerate our hugs but don’t actually enjoy them. Some dogs don’t mind a hug from their special people, but don’t want the same affection from others.

Here’s a quick summary of how dogs say “yes” or “no”. Sometimes they say “maybe”. I suspect they are conflicted at times because they want our attention but don’t like the type of attention that they receive. It’s the classic walk away and then come back and then walk away routine. Once we change our approach, a “maybe” can soon become a “yes”. 

Be aware that all dog body language needs to be observed with consideration of the context within which it occurs, what their whole body is ‘saying’ and the individual dog involved. Just like people, different dogs have little idiosyncrasies and styles of communicating.

Body language that says “Yes”

  • Moving into your space, coming to you for physical contact
  • Nudging a head into your hand or lap
  • Pawing your hand
  • Leaning into you
  • Lying down near you, touching you or flopping onto you
  • Face, mouth and eyes are relaxed and droopy


Body language that says “No”

  • Moving away from you, especially if they don’t return. This is so important to take notice of. If a dog does not come to you, do not go to the dog and invade their space, especially if you are unfamiliar to that dog. Do not put dogs in situations where they cannot move away or escape from a patting interaction even when you’re convinced it is pleasant. They may not appreciate it.
  • Leaning away from you.
  • Turning the head away.
  • Looking away from you.
  • Shying away or ducking the head away from your hand.
  • Rolling the eyes away to show the whites of the eye (whale eye)
  • Yawning
  • Licking the lips
  • Freezing (a tense stillness as opposed to a relaxed stillness)

If you miss the more subtle body language for “no”, the dog may escalate their distance increasing behaviours to become more obvious and effective. Dogs who really find patting aversive (i.e. hate it and can’t wait to escape) may learn to skip the subtle requests if history has taught them that no-one ever listens. When pushed, a dog can learn that growling, snapping or biting are VERY effective strategies to give them space.

 Body language that could mean “Yes” or “No”

  • Licking your face or hands. This can be asking for space or for you to stop. It is a common appeasement signal. Appeasement behaviours function to reduce or get rid of some part of the interaction which they do not like without using overt aggression. It can also be a sign of affection from a very mouthy, licky dog.
  • Rolling over and expose the belly. If the dog is tense, lips are drawn back and tense, this means “no”. It is another appeasement behaviour. If the dog is floppy and the eyes are soft or closed, this means “rub mah belly”. Refer to the pictures below.
Appeasement Roll Over – leave me alone:
* Ears pinned back (one forward due to pressure of couch)
* Tight mouth, pulled back at commissure
* Front paws tucked tight, not relaxed
* Quick lick lip
​* Back legs rolling partially open but tense
Rub Mah Belly Roll Over:
* Mouth relaxed (floppy gums dropping with gravity, exposing teeth)
*  Front legs floppy and relaxed
* Back legs relaxed, flopping wide open with gravity
* Skin around eyes soft, not taut
* Body relaxed, stretched out fully, lying fully on back
  • Paw raised. If the dog is tense and the body is leaning away, it means “no”. If the dog is leaning towards you and body is relaxed, it can be “yes” or “maybe”.
  • Walking away. Some dogs will walk away and come back. They may want attention from you, but not the sort you are giving. If you change what you are doing, they may stay.
  • Mouthing the hand. This may mean “no” if it occurs whilst you are petting and stops when you stop. Some dogs show affection by mouthing, so they may gently mouth your hand as you pat them. If it occurs when you stop petting, it could be a mouthy dog requesting for you to continue. 
  • Being motionless. If the dog is relaxed and choosing to stay without restraint, they may be enjoying the pat. They may lean ever so slightly into your touch, with all the other signs of enjoyment (soft eyes, ears, mouth). If they have “frozen” and are tense or rigid under your touch, almost resisting relaxation or holding their breath, they are probably not enjoying the patting and are waiting for it to stop. You can often feel a pounding heart under the chest of a dog who is very still but not enjoying the contact.
  • Lots of wiggling. Some dogs are happy, wiggly, bouncy balls of exuberance who can’t stop moving when they are enjoying an activity. Others are nervous, uncomfortable wigglers who are torn between wanting some attention from you but not liking where or how they are being touched.

Many pet parents notice a difference in the way their dog approaches, stays and responds to them when they take the time to observe, ‘ask’ the dog and accommodate what he/she enjoys.
 
Reference: This article is adapted from © Sonya Bevan Dogcharming.com.au. She demonstrates some of her points in the following short video.