Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blood and Bone Fertiliser is toxic to dogs

Cairns Vet Clinic treated three dogs last week which had been eating blood and bone fertiliser which is toxic to dogs As the weather warms up its time to get into the garden and fertilise your plants, but make sure you keep garden chemicals and fertilisers out of reach of your pets!

Doggy Delicacy: Blood and Bone

Blood and Bone toxic to dogs Gross things dogs eat: Blood and Bone Fertiliser

Blood and Bone: Great for Gardens, not for dogs!

One surprisingly popular delicacy (not sure if you can call it that if they eat it by the kilo though?) is Blood and Bone garden fertiliser.  Some dogs develop quite a taste for this and will eat all they can get their grubby little paws on.  I guess this kind of makes sense, given it is made of meat and bone scraps.  The processing converts this from being food into something totally undigestable though, and dogs can get very sick from eating it.

Don’t let a little chicken poo put you off:

Some dogs don’t stop at blood and bone: Dynamic Lifter and similar natural fertilisers are mostly composed of chicken manure, often with added blood and bone.  These are also eaten by dogs with toxic results.  Keep all fertilisers away from your pets.  This is a common cause of toxicity and dogs (and less commonly cats): the RSPCA advises pet owners to keep toxic fertilisers away from pets

RSPCA Australia recommends that owners take active steps to ensure that their dogs and other pets do not ingest any type of fertilizer material. If an owner suspects their dog or other pet has ingested fertilizer they should contact their local vet immediately for further advice. For information relating to specific fertilizer products or any other questions regarding fertilizer ingestion by dogs or other pets we suggest you contact your local vet.

Other types of fertilizer such as bone meal and blood meal may be eaten in large quantities by dogs which can cause significant gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation) and possibly pancreatitis. Certain fertilizers may also contain bacterial or fungal toxins which can have serious side effects if ingested.

Fertilizers can also be caustic, which irritates the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. In some cases ingestion may lead to gastrointestinal ulceration. Impaction (gastrointestinal blockage) with fertilizer material may also occur in some cases.

Symptoms may be more severe however, if a large amount of fertilizer is ingested or if additives such as insecticides and iron are part of the fertilizer mix. Some fertilizers contain a significant amount of iron which can result in iron toxicity. Though heavy metals such as iron are generally not readily absorbed into the animal’s system, they can pose a hazard when dogs ingest large amounts. A few fertilizers also contain insecticides such as disulfoton, a highly toxic organophosphate which when ingested can cause a sudden onset of seizures and pancreatitis.

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seeing Eye dog for the blind (dog) - amazing pet news

Here is a remarkable story of a blind dog who has her own seeing eye dog:
Actually many blind dogs do very well without their sight, aided by their exceptional smell and hearing... as long as you don't change the furniture too often.

Great story though.
Dallas McMillan
Cairns Veterinary Clinic
Britain Blind Dog

Lily and her best friend, Maddison, are inseparable and the animal shelter where they live wants them to be kept together. Picture: AP Source: AP

AN ANIMAL shelter has been inundated with offers of help after it requested a home for a pair of Great Danes - one of which is blind, and totally dependent on the other.

Louise Campbell, the manager of Dogs Trust Shrewsbury, in the UK, said more than 200 people have responded to the call for help and possibly a new home since the shelter - near the Welsh town of Newport - went public about the dogs' plight a few days ago.

"It's been phenomenal," she said, adding that it is still too early to say if a suitable home can be found.

Ms Campbell said six-year-old Lily became reliant on Maddison, seven, after a rare medical problem called entropion caused her eyelashes to grow into her eyeballs, leaving them so severely damaged that they had to be removed.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cairns Pets Paralysis Tick Reminder

Paralysis Ticks Are Still A Problem for Cairns Pets

Cairns Pets are at greatest risk of tick paralysis from June to December, with August being a peak paralysis tick season.  However, the last couple of years have been atypical due to unusual weather patterns.   2010 was overall too wet for ticks, and 2011 has really been a bit too dry.
Paralysis ticks seem to thrive best and poison more pets when the weather is warm, and not too wet: partly this may reflect wildlife like bandicoots coming into the same habitat as pets and vice versa: eg in dry weather bandicoots often come into people's yards to dig for food in gardens and lawns.  Cairns Pet Tick paralysis cases often surge in the week after rainfall: perhaps some rain triggers the ticks to hatch or mature.
Tick Paralysis occurs several days after a tick has attached to a pet, and can cause difficulty breathing, weakness, wobbliness, coughing, vomiting and death.
All this means that the next week or so could be a high risk time for tick paralysis: check your pet regularly and use a preventative product as recommended by your vet.

Search Your Pet Daily for Paralysis Ticks: no Preventative works 100% of the time.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has done a Press Release to warn owners of the risk of tick paralysis to their pets: this is geared at a south-east Australian audience but still has valid points for Tick Paralysis in Cairns Pets.
Excerpt Below: from Australian Eye: Read the full article

“Ticks release a toxin when they feed, which leads to a condition known as tick paralysis. Common signs of tick paralysis include gurgling and choking. Dogs will often be unable to bark properly due to paralysis of the throat,” said Dr Wilson.

“Other animals may start to cough when eating or drinking, or may cough up water or food. Some animals may also have trouble breathing. It’s vital to take action immediately if you notice any of these symptoms,” she said.

Ideally pet owners should check dogs and cats daily if they live in tick-prone areas. This is most usefully done by running your hands over the animal to feel for anything unusual. In cats ticks often latch on around the back of the neck where they cannot groom, so it’s important to pay special attention to this area.

“Even if you find and remove a tick it’s important to keep an eye on your pet as they can be affected by the toxin for up to 24 hours after removal,” said Dr Wilson.

Your local vet can give further advice on effective trick prevention products and ways to remove ticks. If you have any concerns about a pet you should contact your local vet for advice.

For further information and requests for interviews contact:
Jacob O’Shaughnessy, Media Relations Manager
Ph: 02 9431 5062 or 0439 628 898

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the national professional association of veterinary surgeons in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 5000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

Read the whole article at


Monday, October 3, 2011

What price fashion? Animals skinned alive to produce Fashion footwear sold in Australian stores

Animals skinned alive to produce fur lined boots sold in Australian stores

Fur from raccoon dogs, a carnivore farmed in China, is being used in ugg-style boots sold in Australian stores. The boots, which are made of sheepskin (and thus have wool inside) are lined with the soft fur.
The price of fashion? Fur farm animals in china are treated very poorly through their life but their deaths are truly dreadful: they are “stunned” by a blow to the head which seems pretty ineffective: the animals are kicking and wriggling as they are hung up and skinned, and are clearly alive and able to lift their heads and struggle AFTER they have been skinned and thrown onto the ground. Horrible.

Caution: Video may offend – I couldn’t watch it all.

Horrific cruelty in Chinese fur farms: Raccoon dogs skinned alive

Read more at about the cruel fur trade of raccoon dogs at  (excerpt below)


Many clothing manufacturers are turning to the raccoon dog as a source of cheap fur after the Australian Government banned the import of dog and cat fur from China. Picture: Courtesy of Flickr

109142 news Fashionably Cruel: animals skinned alive to produce ugg boot (Graphic warning)

Some Australian ugg boots contain raccoon fur according to the Humane Society International. Picture: supplied

SOME Australian ugg boot makers are using pelts from animals skinned alive in China for the footwear and labelling it as wool and other materials, according to an animal rights group.

Investigators from The Humane Society International have today revealed the results of tests on a range of clothing including a brand of the iconic Aussie ugg boot and claim many samples contain the fur of raccoon dogs.

Raccoon dog fur is mainly farmed in China where the animals are kept in unbelievably cruel conditions before being beaten and then skinned alive.

The raccoon dog is indigenous to east Asia and is closely related to carnivorous and omnivorous mammals which includes wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and domestic dogs.

104051 news Fashionably Cruel: animals skinned alive to produce ugg boot (Graphic warning)

Read more:

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pet insurance: free trial for cairns pets under 12 months old at Cairns Vet Clinic

Pet insurance trial for for Cairns pets

Cairns Vet Clinic is offering free pet insurance trial for dogs and cats under 1 year of age: 

Cairns Vet Clinic has long recomended pet insurance to our clients: now we are pleased to offer a free trial of 1 month pet insurance for all pets under 12 months of age when they are vaccinated or desexed. 

We strongly encourage you to continue the policy: hopefully you never need it, but if you do need pet insurance you’ll be very glad to have it.  We’ve had plenty of our clients tell us what a blessing pet insurance has been to their family when their pet is unwell.  When you are facing serious injury or illness in your family dog or cat the last thing you want to be worrying about is the cost.

There are a wide range of options for pet insurance: make sure you choose one which covers the big things like tick paralysis, broken legs and long term medical problems.  There are some cheaper options which exclude common diseases, especially things like tick paralysis or ruptured cruciate ligaments, or only pay a small amount or have a low cap.

We don’t sell pet insurance or get a commission if you buy it, but we DO want you to get it.  It means if your pet breaks its leg or needs chemotherapy, you won’t have to put it down because you can’t afford to spend $2,000-$7,000 to treat it.  We are happy to answer any questions you have about pet insurance for your pets at any time.  Even if your pet is over 12 months of age, you should still look at pet insurance unless you are confident you can cover major unexpected medical expenses for your pet.

The pet insurance plan we recommend, Pet Plan has been operating in Australia for a long time and offer the most comprehensive cover that we have found of the different policies we have compared.  We actually don’t mind which quality insurance you choose, as long as you consider it so you can look after your pet if they do get sick or hurt.  The monthly cost with Pet Plan is around $22-$28 for cats and $36-$46 for dogs.  There are many cheaper policies but they usually limit total costs, have high excess or exlude common, expensive problems.

There are a wide range of pet insurers out there: Pet plan was one of 6 insurers recommended in a comparison done by choice magazine: You can read the pet insurance review here: 
Cairns Vet: Pet Insurance

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pet Supplies from Cairns Vet Clinic

Cairns Vet Clinics Manoora, Aeroglen and Gordonvale Branches all carry a great range of Pet Supplies for dogs, cats, birds & other pets (and even wildlife). Anything we don’t stock we can order in, including bulk products and unusual pet supplies. Did you know we even supply fish farms and breeders with some products they just can’t source elsewhere?

Pet supplies for dogs and cats from Cairns Vet Clinics

Of course, we stock all the common pet supplies you’d expect to find at a quality vet or pet shop such as pet food, flea treatment, tick products, heartworm preventatives and worm tablets. We also do Annual Heartworm Injections which are a great way to make sure you remember to protect your pet against heartworm.

Cairns Pet Supplies: Aeroglen Vet Clinic

Thursday, August 25, 2011

You are here: Home / cat / Win free Pet Supplies for a year for Cairns pets

Cairns Vet Clinic invites Cairns pet owners to enter their cutest pet photos to our “Face of Cairns Vet” competition.  The winning pet will receive great prizes including a year’s worth of Free Pet Supplies, pet food, vaccination and grooming for their pet.

Entries close on 30 September.  The winner will be selected by your votes, so even if you don’t enter you can help us choose a winner.  Voting starts 1 October and goes till the 15th October.  The winner will be used for our promotional photos like yellow pages and brochures.  Photos should be high quality, have a clear view of the pets face, preferably with a contrasting bacground.

To enter your pet they must be on our computer system as a client (sorry people in other countries!)

For more information visit “Face of Cairns Vet Clinic” or drop into one of our clinics.

Example of prizes, pet supplies etc.

2010 1st Finn Cropped Version 239x300 Win free Pet Supplies for a year for Cairns pets

2010 1st Finn "Face of Cairns Vet"

The prize will include pet supplies covering preventative health care including flea, tick, worm and heartworm prevention.    We tailor this to your pet’s needs, and what you have used in the past, so for example for a dog it might include:

  • Drontal worm tablets,
  • Proheart Injection
  • Advantix Flea & Tick Treatment
  • Hills Science Diet

We’ve got a great range of quality pet supplies and our staff can give you the best advice on what your pet needs.

For more information on pet supplies and health care call Cairns Vet Clinic on 40329999

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does your pet need a visit to the groomers?

Cairns Vet Clinic does a lot of  cat and dog grooming, clipping and bathing, and one thing we find very surprising is just how matted and dirty some of the pets that come to us are. 

Matted, knotted coats = difficult (even painful) to groom, often requiring sedation

If you let your dog or cat’s coat get matted, knotted, dirty, or even worse have skin disease under the aforementioned matts, knots and dirt this makes clipping them very difficult and painful.Cairns Dog Groomer Cairns Vet 300x165 How to know when your pet needs a visit to the groomers

In most cases matted coats will need to be clipped off at skin level because the clipper’s can’t move through the matts.

Check long coated pets daily and take to the cat or dog groomer BEFORE they get matted

If you have a long coated pet, you really need to check it and brush it daily (weekly at a minimum) to avoid the coat turning into dreadlocks and matts.  If your pet gets wet or dirty it makes it even more important to brush and clean them regularly.

Have you checked your pet’s skin and coat recently.  Is it time for a trip to the dog groomer or cat clipper?

Don’t leave it too long: matted hair can result in hidden skin disease and discomfort, as well as being unsightly (check out this matted Shih-Tzu visiting the dog groomer for some urgent de-dreadlocking in the video below)

Matted Shih-tzu visits the dog groomer to remove 4kg of dreadlocks


For more info on Cairns cat & dog grooming and clipping please phone Cairns Vet Clinic on 07 40329999

Win a year's supply of pet health care with Cairns Vet Clinic

Cairns Vet Clinic invites you to submit your pet's photos for our annual "Face of Cairns Vet Clinic" Competition.
Simply send us a great portrait of your pet and our clients will vote on the most appealing pet to be our model for our 2012 advertising and yellow pages. 
The winning pet will be crowned "Face of Cairns Vet" and wins a years worth of pet food & pet supplies supplies and preventative health care including Hill's Food, Flea, Tick, Worm & Heartworm prevention & annual vaccination.
For more information visit Face of Cairns Vet or phone 07 40329999
Entries close 30 september
Voting starts 30 october to 15 october
We will announce the winner on 16 october.
So enter your pet NOW!
Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cairns Vet seeks attractive pet for year long promotional relationship.

Every year Cairns Vet Clinic runs a competition to find a face for our marketing like your Yellow Pages and Brochures: we decide the winner by public vote, and it always attracts heaps of great entries and hundreds of votes.
Enter your pet at our website: Face of Cairns Vet
Check out some of our past entrants (from last years competition for 2011 marketing):
Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Free tick paralysis information night



Come along to our free paralysis tick education evening on the 11th August starting at 7pm.

Ask our friendly staff for more information or RSVP now to book your spot.

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Biosecurity Queensland Hendra Virus Update 15 July 2011

Those following the Hendra Virus situation might be interested in this veterinary communique from Biosecurity Queensland.
There has been a lot of media beatup and a suprising level of misunderstanding in the community about the role of Flying foxes in the Hendra Virus situation.  Plenty of politicians and others are calling for bat culls and relocation.  Eg: This article at the Cairns Post
Meantime, some people don't understand that bats ARE firmly implicated as the primary host and carrier of Hendra Virus.
Hendra Virus is common in flying foxes and has not been detected in any other species except those associated with outbreaks in horses (including 7 humans and 1 cat) despite testing of thousands of native and domestic animals.
A flying fox cull is not not the answer though, as bats play a vital role in the ecosystem, virus spread is actually exacerbated by stress, and disease transmission to horses can be minimised by excluding horses from grazing below flying fox roosts and feeding areas.

Moving flying foxes is a bit like cat herding so is probably not viable, and they frequently go somewhere else they aren't wanted or return to the same location later.
Planning to kill or disrupt hundreds of thousands of flying foxes hoping to prevent a handfull of horse and human infections isn't a smart way to approach this situation and would have huge environmental repercussions: surely in the 21st century we have some insight into how complex systems interact and our actions can have unexpected and often massive consequences elsewhere. 
In this case the types of unintended  outcomes we could see include the spread of the disease into other geographic areas (I can just see the outcry if a case is recorded in Southern NSW or Victoria following a Queensland Flying Fox harassment campaign), changes in plant pollination and seeding patterns (such as the spread of weeds which flying foxes feed on like bush tobacco) and population disruption, such as plagues/endangerment of critical species in these and other groups of animals.
Dallas McMillan
Cairns Veterinary Clinic 
Read more on Hendra Virus at Cairns Pet News
Biosecurity QLD Hendra Virus Current Situation

Hendra virus in North Queensland Biosecurity Queensland officers continue to monitor 36 horses on the quarantined property at Kuranda near Cairns, where Hendra virus was confirmed on Tuesday 12 July.

The remaining horses on the property will undergo testing for Hendra virus and will be monitored closely by Biosecurity Queensland staff in conjunction with the horse owner. Currently all horses appear clinically normal.

There is no connection between the horses or properties in Kuranda to the incidents at Beaudesert, Boonah, Park Ridge or in New South Wales.

Hendra virus in South East Queensland

The second round of testing from the horses located on quarantined properties in Beaudesert has been completed.

The horses located on the quarantined properties at Mt Alford and Park Ridge will undergo a second round of testing over the next two weeks.

There are three rounds of testing in total. The final rounds of testing will take place a minimum of two incubation periods after the last opportunity for a horse to be infected.

The total number of properties quarantined as a result of Hendra virus in Queensland is nine. There have been six confirmed horse deaths.

There are 76 horses are being monitored on a daily basis. All horses appear clinically normal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

World's best job (for vets)? Save animals one day, dive the Great Barrier Reef the next: Cairns Vet Clinic

Check out our brand new Cairns Vet job listing


Worlds Best (Vet) Job? Cairns Vet position vacant:

Delicious Digg Facebook Google Bookmarks Google Buzz LinkedIn Posterous reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Email Print Friendly

 Cairns Vet Clinic is seeking a new vet to join our team to work in Paradise.

Cairns Veterinary Clinic needs an experienced, enthusiastic and motivated veterinarian to join our team of 5 vets in Cairns, North Queensland.

This Cairns Vet job would be ideal for vets with strong clinical skills seeking a better work-life balance, a new lifestyle and the ability to enjoy the wide range of great activities and adventures the Cairns Region has to offer.

Cairns is a rapidly growing city (pop 150,000) set in the lush tropics.  It is the perfect holiday destination, and an equally attractive place to live.  Y ou can choose between relaxation in the sun or a multitude of adventures, including diving on the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the rainforest, fishing, 4WDing, kite-surfing, island-hopping and horse riding.  Cairns has all amenities including an international airport, theatres, night clubs, excellent shopping, restaurants, and art galleries.

Vet Job at Cairns Vet Clinic 1024x564 Worlds Best (Vet) Job? Cairns Vet position vacant:is a high quality small animal clinic.  There is a large, modern, central clinic with excellent facilities and two branch clinics.  We are a university partnership practice.  We regularly host students and visiting specialists, enabling the full range of mentorship and training opportunities.  After hours is usually easy, and is shared between 4 vets, equating to approximately 1-2 days a week and 1 weekend in four.  You will also work a Saturday Morning once a month.  We give 2 days off after a Saturday or weekend on call, which means heaps of time off for getting away and exploring the many beautiful destinations around Cairns.

Read the rest of the Cairns Vet job listing

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Horse dies of Hendra Virus near Cairns, Queensland

An eighth Horse has died of Hendra virus near Cairns, Australia.  The horse was seen by a private practitioner on the weekend and tests have confirmed the horse died of Hendra Virus.
Read the full article on the Cairns Hendra Virus Horse Death at Cairns Pet News:

Positive Hendra virus case in North Queensland

Dr Rick Symons
Chief Veterinary Officer
Biosecurity Queensland

Biosecurity Queensland is managing a case of Hendra virus infection near Cairns after test results on a deceased horse came back positive for the virus. 
A private veterinarian attended the sick horse over the weekend. The veterinarian reported clinical signs of ataxia, depression, disorientation, neck muscle fasciculation and recumbency.The veterinarian also reported that the horse had a body temperature of 37.8°C and displayed a rapid deterioration overnight. The affected property will be quarantined to restrict the movement of horses on and off. Tracing will be a priority to determine what contact the deceased horse had with other animals on the property. More information
Notify suspected Hendra virus cases by contacting Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 (during business hours) or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 (24-hour hotline). More information is available at





Sunday, July 10, 2011

Huge Cairns Pet Open day at YAPS with Dave & Inkie from ZincFM Morning zoo

Come and help raise money for Cairns pets at YAPS open day!
YAPS (Young Animal Protection Society) are a long established Cairns Animal Shelter, charity and boarding kennel on Stanton Rd in Smithfield.  They've been doing great work for years and are having their first ever open day as part of the Cairns Festival.
I just heard Dave and Inkie from the Morning Zoo talking about it and it sounds Great!
Its going to be huge with dog washes .. doggie boot camps .. fashion parade .. face painting .. agility demonstrations .. pin the tail on the doggie competitions .. sausage sizzles and the worlds longest hot dog competition.
Dallas McMillan
Cairns Veterinary Clinic 
Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Cairns Pet news the web.

Read more details about the great Cairns Pet extravaganza: "One Hundred Thousand YAPS" at:
Excerpt below
Between July 17 and August 21st we will be doing a major fundraising drive for YAPS .. the One Hundred Thousand YAPS .. with the aim of collecting $100,000 in donations for this very worthy cause.

We will officially launch the fundraising activity on Sunday July 17th 2011 at YAPS with their very first open day .. the Mongrel Moggie Muster.

This event will include an outside broadcast by Dave and Inkie .. Zincfm’s Morning Zoo and be further supported by businesses such as dog washes .. doggie boot camps .. discounted micro-chipping .. face painting .. agility demonstrations .. pin the tail on the doggie competitions .. sausage sizzles and any other market/stall holders who are interested in participating on the day.

The main function of this event is to hand out the 1000 YAPS money boxes to everyone who wants to register to take part in the fundraising activity .. they then have until Sunday August 21st 2011 to raise $100 or more per tin. (1000 tins times $100 = $100,000)

The challenge is open to individuals .. schools .. businesses or groups who register to take part in the challenge .. registration will be available on-line .. at any Overflow store or at YAPS .. there will be great prizes for each of the categories to win .. which is where you come in!

We are seeking your generosity by way of donating prizes .. prizes for any category .. be it dinner for ten that a business could use as a staff dinner .. gift vouchers .. furniture .. computers .. fashions .. make-overs .. consultations .. toys .. anything .. big or small .. that might add a little extra incentive for participation in this very good cause.

Alternatively or additionally .. you may want to participate in the challenge yourself .. or involve your business .. the money boxes can sit on counters .. can be passed around an office .. kids can be encouraged to take them and do a walk your dog a thon or school groups might like to have a cent sale .. a garage sale .. there are so many ways to fill a tin with $100 or more.

The culmination of the fundraising activity will be on Sunday 21st of August 2011 at Cannon Park where we will have the inaugural One Hundred Thousand YAPS Fair .. this event will host a flea market with plants .. clothes .. foods .. pony rides etc.

Keep Reading about the YAPS Cairns Pet fundraiser and register at

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cairns teens face justice over wallaby killings, torture

A group of teens have been caught by police following a very nasty act of cruelty on wallabies near Edmonton on the Southern side of Cairns.  I'm glad these young people have been caught and have to come to terms with what they have done.  Animal cruelty in childhood often correlates with even more serious criminal behavior as the individual matures.  Hopefully they will realise how pointless this is and learn to appreciate and respect animals.  Perhaps a couple of hundred hours voluntary work at an animal shelter or wildlife park is in order.

Read the full story of wallaby cruelty near Cairns at the Courier Mail

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Gang of teenagers disciplined after allegedly torturing and killing wallabies in bushland near Cairns

TEENS have been dealt with under the Youth Justices Act after allegedly hunting wallabies with spears, hog-tying them and leaving them to die near Cairns.

Police from Edmonton, a southern Cairns suburb, on Friday dealt with eight youths  aged between 13 and 15  who were involved in the alleged killings at Whiterock.

A concerned resident contacted the police at the start of the school holidays to report the gang of youths was allegedly hunting and torturing the wallabies.

Cairns Crime Prevention Sergeant Cary Coolican said police searched bushland behind a housing estate in Whiterock last week and found two spears and a number of wallaby carcasses.

She said the gang of youths had been tracked down by police and dealt with on Friday.

Read more about Teens caught for Wallaby Torture near Cairns at the Courier Mail

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to find a good vet.

Finding a good vet is one of the first things you should do when getting a new pet or moving to a new area.  I see a lot of posts on forum and social networks about how to find a good vet in Cairns or from people looking for a cheap Cairns vet.  What strikes me most about these comments is that people focus on price and personality and don't really pay much attention to medical or surgical expertise, facilities or services.  Now this is really human nature, I know: most pet owners have limited abilities to assess what makes a good vet: so they need to rely on things they can easily assess: namely do they like their vet (most pet owners like their vets) and price (most people can count). 

Now obviously price and personality are factors to be continued (though we should be assessing value rather than price: this is impossible unless you are also able to assess quality... this article should help with that)

Unfortunately, this won't do you much good if your pet needs emergency vet care and your friendly cheap vet doesn't have an after hours service.  It also won't be very helpful if your pet has a medical problem and your friendly cheap vet doesn't have the facilities to diagnose and treat it.  Likewise, it might not be such a bargain if your sick or aged pet needs an anaesthetic and those low vet fees didn't cover the purchase and maintainence of safety equipment or decent pain relief.
Its heartening to read industry surveys of pet owners about the most important factors which people choose a vet: this conveys a more balanced and enlightened range of considerations

The most important factors for choosing a good veterinarian (according to pet owners) 

Here are some survey results of pet owners reasons for choosing a vet (from Ralstone Purina/OVMA Study of Consumer Attitudes )

Interested in wellbeing of my pet - 54%

Has excellent medical knowledge - 35%

Is very comforting to my pet - 24%

Provides prompt service - 19%

Services are reasonably priced - 18%

Is conveniently located - 16%

Doesn't recommend unnecessary services - 14%

Provides explanations - 14%

Has clinical personnel that I trust - 14%

Provides through answers to my questions - 12%

Has a very professional staff - 12%

As you can see, there are a wide range of factors which people take into account when choosing a good vet.  Most clients don't know what these are or how to assess them.  These guidelines below can help you better assess if a vet is going to suit your needs.

What makes a good vet?

A good vet puts your pets needs first, and takes the time to educate you on how to meet their needs.

They are friendly and easy to talk to when needed, and employ staff that take care of you and your pet, and are able to solve a variety of pet related problems. 

A good vet is there when you need them: look for 24 hour emergency services, weekend clinics and good record systems so that the vet will know your pet's history and send you reminders for essential health care such as vaccination and parasite control.  They will also offer a comprehensive range of services such as house calls and pupply classes

A good vet has experience and an interest in your your type of pet and their common problems, and if they aren't sure what is going on, they will be quick to seek advice from a specialist or refer you when necessary.

Their office should be conveniently located with off street parking so you can safely and easily unload your pet from your car.  The clinic should be attractve, well lit and hygeinic: a good vet will be happy to give you a tour of their clinic

A good vet invests in modern diagnostic and safety equipment.  When your pet is sick or undergoing anaesthesia, its important to know your vet is has the right equipment to identify the problem and ensure your pet's health and safety throughout their treatment.

A good vet keeps up to date with recent developments in veterinary science through ongoing education including conferences and courses.  Experience is vital, but not at the expense of keeping up with modern medicine: vet science has come a long way in the last 20 years.

A good vet places great emphasis on your pet's health, comfort and safety.  They know how to assess pain and quality of life, and are happy to teach you and make sure you do all you can to keep your pet comfortable when sick, injured, or aged.  Good vets are proactive and well informed about pain relief after surgery.

A good vet keeps in touch with their community, talking to clients and other pet related professionals and hobbyists.  They aim to share their knowledge with their staff and clients for the welfare of animals.

Dallas McMillan

Read more on how to find a good vet and Pet news on the web.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vets face deadly safety dilemma as Hendra virus horse deaths reach 6 in 2 weeks

As then Hendra Virus alert increases, Equine Vets in Queensland and Northern New South Wales are facing a terrible dilemma of whether to treat sick horses as the number of Hendra virus cases grows rapidly.  Highlighting the danger, a Biosecurity Queensland Vet in being monitored in Hospital following a needle stick injury.  This is the second needle stick injury I've heard of associated with a Hendra Virus case, the first being during the Redlands outbreak in 2009 when a government vet was hospitalised after pricking herself with a needle while Euthanasing a horse.

Hendra virus exposure risk exacerbated by essential protective equipment

Needle stick injuries in vets are actually very rare: I think I've only pricked myself a handful of times in 10 years, and most of those were with sterile needles which posed no health risk.  The high frequency we are seeing with these Hendra virus cases is no accident: its a direct result of the high pressure situation and the cumbersome protective equipment required when handling suspect Hendra cases.  The rise of Hendra is resulting in calls for vets to wear protective equipment such as overalls, masks, gloves and even respirators when dealing with any suspect Hendra case (which can be just about in sick horse, until proven otherwise).  Your dexterity, speed and visibility are seriously impaired when "safely protected" by all this equipment.  The horse is also unimpressed with the blue-clad alien figure approaching them, so direct horse related injury risk is also greatly reduced.  The overall risk of approaching and treating a horse once Hendra virus is taken into account is thus greatly increased.

Forgoing safety equipment isn't smart either: a splash of blood or saliva into your eye or nose (or transferred from your own hands) just happens too easily not to wear gloves and a mask and easily cleaned or removed clothing, but it adds to an already high pressure situation wearing so much restrictive equipment.

No surprise then that many vets are refusing to see sick horses during the current Hendra virus scare.  When faced with the prospect of a life threatening infection as part of your daily work, equine house calls (which are already risky activities compared with small animal practice) become much less appealing.  I know myself how suddenly your attitude to your work changes when you realise, 10 minutes into handling a sick horse, that it could actually be Hendra Virus, and you anxiously wait on the blood test results to reveal whether you are at risk of serious illness.  Fortunately I never have been, and increased education among vets as we learn more about the disease makes this situation less common, but I bet there are plenty of vets not getting much sleep over the next few days, as the first signs of Hendra Virus can be so subtle that really any sick horse you handle could have the infection.

Biosecurity workers deal with the hendra outbreak

Essential protective equipment makes an already difficult job more stressful: Biosecurity workers deal with the hendra outbreak at Beaudesert in Queensland in late June. A case of the disease is confirmed in NSW a few days later. ABC News (Anne O'Keeffe)

Dallas McMillan

Cairns Vet Clinic

Follow me on twitter @cairnsvet


Read more about the sixth Hendra Virus case at Sydney Morning Herald



Hendra claims sixth horse near Brisbane

Petrina Berry & Tracey Ferrier

Tests have confirmed a horse that died near Brisbane on Monday is the sixth victim in a worrying escalation of the Hendra virus.

The horse fell ill and died at Park Ridge, south of Brisbane, on Monday night, not far from where other Hendra cases have been confirmed.

Initial tests produced conflicting results.

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But results from further tests, returned late on Tuesday, confirmed the animal had Hendra virus.

The horse's owner and a vet who had contact with the animal have joined the list of people waiting to learn if they've contracted the potentially deadly virus.

They now number 17 in Queensland and nine in NSW.

Queensland's chief veterinary officer Rick Symons said there was only one horse on the Park Ridge property, which was now under quarantine.

"However there are horses on neighbouring properties so we are currently addressing the need to quarantine properties in the immediate area," he said.

Since June 20, six horses have died or have been put down after contracting Hendra - five in southern Queensland and one in northern NSW.

Park Ridge is about 70km from Mt Alford and 50km from Kerry, where other Hendra cases have been confirmed.

A total of six properties are now under quarantine - five in southern Queensland, including the Park Ridge site, and one at Wollongbar, in northern NSW.

Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said 17 people in the state were now undergoing tests for Hendra.

She revealed one is a Biosecurity Queensland vet who suffered a needle stick injury on the weekend, while responding to Hendra cases at Mt Alford in the state's south.

The vet, who was wearing double gloves and following procedure, was being closely monitored in hospital, but was considered to be at low risk, Dr Young said.

Dr Symons said the recent cases in Queensland and NSW pointed to an increased Hendra risk for horses but the cause was a mystery.

Read the rest of this Hendra Virus in Horses and Humans article at Sydney Morning Herald

Hendra virus alert: fourth outbreak suspected

Hendra Virus has sparked another health alert as a fourth Hendra Virus outbreak has been suspected South of Brisbane.  If confirmed, this will be the fourth outbreak in Queensland in a fortnight, following on from the third Hendra Virus case at Boonah.  This is the peak season for Hendra Virus as fruit trees are attracted into horse paddocks by fruit trees including figs and mangos flowering.

Hendra virus rarely infects horses but when it does it is often fatal. The symptoms of Hendra Virus in horses including fever, restlessness, incoordincation, breathing problems and nasal discharge.  Because the early signs may be subtle it is important to treat all sick horses with cation, as infected horses can also pass the virus on to humans, with deadly results.  Of 7 known human infections with Hendra Virus, 4 died.  In most cases humans became infected by close contact with horse body fluids such as blood or saliva.  Practicing good hygeine minimises the risk of infection, but you should contact your vet if your horse shows any of the symptoms of Hendra virus.

Read more about the latest suspected case of Hendra virus in a horse at ABC PM

Fourth Hendra outbreak in Queensland

STEPHEN LONG: The deadly Hendra virus has claimed another horse on another Queensland property. Authorities say a horse south of Brisbane succumbed to the virus.

In the past fortnight, four other horses infected with the deadly virus have died in southern Queensland and one on the New South Wales north coast.

Seventeen people are now waiting for test results in Queensland to see if they've contracted Hendra, including a vet who suffered a needle-stick injury.

Stephanie Smail.

RICK SYMONS: There is something obviously happening out there. We've got the case in NSW, we've got the two cases here and the further suspect case. So certainly something is happening out there that for some reason the chances of horses getting Hendra virus appear to have increased.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The latest suspected outbreak has killed a 30-year-old horse on a property just south of Brisbane.

RICK SYMONS: A veterinarian was called out to a property at Park Ridge yesterday. There was a horse that was off its feed, uncoordinated. The vet took samples from them and sent them to Biosecurity Queensland for testing and the horse died overnight.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Only two people came in contact with the horse, the owner and a local vet.

Dr David Bartholomeusz owns a veterinary clinic at Gleneagle, west of Logan and the vet is one of his staff. He says the risk the vet contracted the lethal virus is low but he admits the more Hendra outbreaks in horses, the higher the risk to humans.

DAVID BARTHOLOMEUSZ: I'm seriously worried about it. But at the same time you have to go on living and this is my job. So we take as many precautions as we can to ensure that we are doing things as safely as we can and that's all we can do.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: In Queensland, three properties at Beaudesert and one further west at Mount Alford are still under quarantine after horses died from the Hendra virus on the properties in the past week.

Chief veterinary officer Dr Rick Symons says about 30 other horses are being monitored on the properties but the signs are good so far.

Read the rest of this story on a suspected fourth Hendra Virus outbreak at ABC PM at

Read more Hendra Virus News

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cairns Vet Clinic wants to know how we can serve you better: take our survey

Cairns Vet Clinic is hoping you can tell us how we can improve our service to you and better communicate with you.  We've had great feedback and interaction via social media with lots of people sharing photos and comments with us, and we are sure this will grow in the future.  We send out regular reminders for essential medication and many of our clients tell us how helpful this is.  What is the best way for us to reach you and help improve your relationship with your pet?  What is important to you in choosing a vet.

Help us out by filling in our survey
Cairns Vet Clinic Client Survey

We have run one of these surveys before and the results were really useful, and quite surprising! 
For a number, we had a number of clients ask us if we could do house calls and pet grooming: in fact we have offered both these services for years.  This is a great example of how this type of survey can help you and us achieve better results for your pet.

We were very happy to see the high response rate to our last survey and also the high levels of positive feedback in the last survey.  Its great that so many of our clients seem so happy, but we wondered whether only our most ardent admirers took the time to do the survey.  We sent a gift voucher to one lucky survey respondent last time and we'll be doing the same again: hopefully we'll get a good range of responses.
So I'd encourage you, if you've ever used our services and changed vets or not been happy for some reason to please fill out our survey to let us know and hopefully we can do a better job in the future.

Cairns Vet Clinic Client Survey

If you'd prefer you can even come in to the clinic and do the survey on that old fashioned stuff called paper!

Thanks in advance for your help, and special thanks to those who filled out our last survey.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Third Hendra Virus case confirmed in horse near Boonah in QLD

Have just received this update from the Australian Veterinary Association: its shaping up to be a big Hendra virus season.  A large part of the surge in diagnosis is likely increased awareness and alertness by horse owners and vets of the possibility of Hendra Virus in sick horses.  This highlights the importance of getting your horse checked by a vet when it is unwell and being sure to practice safe and hygeinic animal handling, especially with interventions like dentistry, stomach tubing, worming, etc.
Dallas McMillan
Cairns Veterinary Clinic

July 2011

Third Hendra case confirmed
Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed a third Hendra case in a horse near Mount Alford and Boonah in Queensland, around 70km from the first case near Beaudesert.

This is the third confirmation in a week, with the other two cases being found on properties near Beaudesert south of Brisbane and near Wollongbar between Ballina and Lismore in New South Wales.

All three properties are in quarantine, with horses and people in contact with the affected horses being tested for the virus. All the veterinarians involved are being supported by colleagues in the veterinary community, and our thoughts are with them and their families as they wait anxiously for the all clear.

The AVA news article page ( ) is being progressively updated on all the latest information on all three cases.

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dog microchipping legislation

I've had a few enquiries following my post about microchipping Cairns Pets about microchipping laws and how it affects different regions such as Cairns and the tablelands: The legislation governing compulsory microchipping was first introduced into some councils in 2008 but became required across all QLD councils on 11 December 2010.  All pups and kittens aged 12 weeks and under at the time the law was introduced into your area must be microchipped.  Here is a list of when different councils introduced the compulsory microchipping legislation.

Hendra virus alert after horse dies in Queensland: humans and horses in quarantine

A Hendra virus outbreak near Beaudesert in S.E. Queensland has left two properties in Quarantine, with vets and other animal handlers possibly exposed to the deadly virus.

About Hendra Virus

Hendra Virus is a very serious infection which has only emerged as an important pathogen in the last 25 years.  So far it is known to be deadly to horses and humans.  Hendra virus is carried by fruit bats but rarely spreads to other species.  Horses are thought to occasionally become infected from exposure to feed or water contaminated by infected fruit bats: probably from their urine, faeces or reproductive fluids.  Humans have caught the infection from infected horses.  There are no known cases of direct human infection from bats.  Equine hendra virus infections are uncommon but diagnosis is becoming more common as vets and horse owners become better educated of the risks of Hendra virus.

Hendra virus causes a wide range of symptoms in horses including fever, respiratory and neurological problems.  Initially the symptoms were thought to be fairly specific and vets watched for a respiratory and neurologic signs together.  As the number of cases studied grew it has become apparent that Hendra virus can present with a wide range of symptoms to the point where many sick horses have symptoms which could be early stages of hendra virus, adding to safety and treatment challenges for equine vets.

So far of 7 confirmed Hendra virus infections in humans 4 of the victims died, with 2 of these being vets.  There have been 14 clusters of Hendra virus infection identified in horses in that time.

Read more about Hendra virus at CSIRO

Read the latest Hendra virus news, like  (Excerpt below)

Dallas McMillan

Cairns Vet Clinic

Read more about Hendra virus at Cairns Pet News

Hendra virus

TESTING TIME: DPI officials and vets test horses at an Equine Nursery during a previous Hendra oubreak. Picture: Jeff Camden

Hendra alert after horse killed by deadly virus south of Brisbane

THERE has been another outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus in Queensland, with one horse dead and two properties quarantined.

A horse fell ill on a property at Kerry, near Beaudesert south of Brisbane, and died after being moved to a second nearby site at the weekend. Both properties have been quarantined.

Tests have confirmed it had Hendra, a virus that's killed four of the seven people infected with it since its discovery in 1994.

A vet called to care for the sick horse and seven other people who had contact with the animal now face a series of tests and preventative drug treatment.

Acting Chief Health Officer Aaron Groves said: "At the moment we know people have come in contact with the horse but they need to have come into contact with the horse when it's been ill.

 "The virus can affect the horse quite quickly. Humans need to come into contact with the horse's saliva and horse manure.

"We know the vets have come into contact and we suspect another few people may have come into contact with the horse at some stage."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Microchip success stories and FAQ

Cairns Vet Clinic uses CAR Microchips ( and often get questions about how microchips work etc: their webpage has some great photos and tips which are worth a read if you want to know more about microchipping.    They also have some great stories about succesful recoveries, and some less successful, like this one....


We recently received an email from a person in New York... Yes New York, USA, advising us that they had found a dog which was microchipped & listed on our database, here in Australia!


They were obviously keen to locate the owner so that the dog, a beautiful 6 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback, could be reunited with them, but unfortunately the owners had not updated their contact details when they had either moved to the USA, or at least, re-homed the dog overseas, so contact with them wasn't possible! Unfortunately, we don't know what happened to this pet after that!



CAR have over 1.6 million animals on their database and have helped in the recovery of over 341,000 lost pets.

Read more microchip stories at
Under their products page you can also order a council-type tag so people can contact the registry without taking their pet to the vet: excerpt below.

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

To provide additional assistance to the implanted microchip in ensuring your lost or stolen pet is returned home , consider having a Central Animal Records (CAR) tag fitted to your dog or cats collar.

These tags are uniquely numbered and are cross linked to your microchip record, and carry the CAR phone number as a point of contact.

The real value is that if a member of the public finds your dog or cat ,there is capacity to return your pet home to you without the need for the member of the public to transport your pet to a microchip scanning centre.

How does it work?
Using the Phone number on the tag ,our CAR operators are contacted by the finder of your pet. The finder simply quotes the unique number from the tag worn by your pet. Our operators obtain finders name and contact number/s.
We then retrieve your details from the database, and contact you to advise that your pet has been found and provide you with the details of that person including contact details ,so that you can arrange to call them and collect your pet.
In many cases, pet owners have been contacted before they even realised that their pet had even slipped out of its yard! It works that quickly!

Puppy and kitten microchipping now required by law for Cairns Pets: don't be dudded when buying a pet


I like to keep an eye on what's happening on Cairns Pet related social media, and I often see puppies and kittens advertised for sale without microchips.  Remember this is illegal now: if someone is trying to sell you an un-microchipped pet then they are dudding you: theres also a good chance they haven't done other essential preventative care like worming and vaccination.
Don't buy a pet (or even be given for free) a pet that hasn't had basic preventative care: we often see puppies and kittens run up expensive vet bills due to worms which could have been easily and cheaply prevented.  For the best advice on Pet supplies and puppy and kitten health care, speak to your local vet.

Puppies and kittens from Pet shops should cover these basic health care issues (though there can be other problems with pet shops)
Another way to get a pet which has had good preventative care including microchipping, vaccination, worming and desexing is to visit a local animal shelter.  This also helps prevent overbreeding and the euthanasia of unwanted animals.

Dallas McMillan
Cairns Vet Clinic 


Cairns Region pet accommodation and shelters: Mareeba Animal Refuge

Cairns Vet Clinic tries to keep local pet owners updated about local pet accommodation (Boarding facilities, pet friendly accommodation), shelters and other pet news.  Mareeba animal refuge has a very long history of helping animals (as Friends of the animals) on the tablelands and have recently (about 3 years ago) moved to new facilities  to me so I can't tell you many more details but its worth keeping them in mind if you are looking for a new pet, or need to board your dog when you are travelling to the tablelands.

Mareeba Animal Refuge's website features sections on the history of the refuge, lost and found pets, pets available to rehome, boarding facilities, volunteer opportunities and more.  Read more about Mareeba Animal Refuge at their website (  Excerpt below

Cairns city has several other shelters and boarding kennels if you aren't on the tablelands.  For more information about Cairns Dog Boarding kennels and catteries and Cairns Pet Friendly Accommodation visit Cairns Pet news.

Cairns Pet Holiday accommodation: Mareeba Animal Refuge

Mareeba Animal Refuge (MAR) is currently run and managed by Jennifer Walsh, who has many years experience in the care of animals. Jennifer is also a trained Homeopath and Natural Therapist and she has instigated many treatments in the care of the animals in this field as well.

"Friends of the Animals" was originally established in Herberton around 2000 by our founder, Fiona Buchanan who had many years of work in animal welfare before she was drawn to the Atherton Tablelands because of the great need here.

Already elderly,she began a gift shop in Herberton and worked long hours in the shop as well as caring for several neglected and abandoned dogs in her own home. Later, a gallery coffee shop was established next door to the gift shop and these are both now thriving businesses staffed solely by volunteers with all proceeds either coming to us or assisting low income earners with desexing programmes.

The original aim was to build a refuge in the Wongabel Forest on land purchased with the assistance of Cairns Animal Welfare, however after receiving too much opposition from local residents the land was sold and the idea abandoned. Shortly thereafter, Council put up the tender on the former TSPCA site in Mareeba. We applied and won, taking over on November 17, 2007. Sadly, Fiona passed away in August 2007 just before her dream was realised.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Twitter for dogs: Puppy tweets. Goodbye spam, hello "chum"

Puppy tweets device lets your dog tweet all day long

Read dog tweets from a human (tweets about dogs) @Cairnsvet on twitter.

 Read more Cairns Pet News from Cairns Vet Clinic