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:

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 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.

Advertisement: Story continues below

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.