Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 - the Mad Vet is Back!

Just a quick note to say that whilst I promised the blogging Dr Liz would be back in 2018, Dr Liz (aka me, aka the Mad Vet), decided to take a different journey.

But.... gotta love the but.

But, this time, I mean it - I am back, albeit it is mid 2019!
Dr Liz and Dirk in Tasmania (AVA conference) 2018

Why did I stop?  Well, I didn't stop writing, I just stopped publishing.  What I was writing was a bit on the dark side, the sort of thing that, whilst I could share it, would go against what I wanted this blog to be.

What I was writing was not a real reflection of me, just a reflection a frustrated, angry, very tired, version of me.  It is the sort of thing that a rational me would look at, and say "Really?"

"Really".

Like life, the last few years have been a struggle. A  hurdle, that needed an Olympic effort to get through.

Ok, I am lying!   I did stop writing alot,  but it was because I was spending my days and nights looking after the beautiful animals of the Illawarra.  Sharing what I was doing that was very difficult, because I just wanted to put my poor sore knees and feet up, watch a B grade soap opera, and have a hot chocolate at the end of a big work day.

Ok, that is a lie too. Who would've thought that the Mad Vet couldn't give a straight excuse why she promised to blog but didn't.

Moment of truth!


We have had the biggest few years of our amazing special little practice, for reasons that I cannot explain.

I have had health issues - it comes with age. (meniscal tear in a knee) (so the sore knees story is true).

I have been doing extra reading and study (because I love to study).

All of the above, meant that despite my love of writing, I couldn't publish what I wrote when I did write something (if that makes sense), it shouldn't really be shared.

Ok, truth moment is over.

So, short version is - I am honestly, really back. And excited and happy to be also!  It does not mean that all of the above reasons are no longer there, but I am going to work around all of that, to be back blogging.

Any comments or suggestions? let me know.

I am Dr Liz, and I am the Mad Vet (and the only vet)  of Bellambi!  (Be aware of imitations!)


July 2019.

PS I had to laugh when I wrote the line of "beware of imitations", as bizarrely enough, there is a vet who is calling themselves the Bellambi vet also, simply because they are targeting my area for their business.  That's cool. They say imitation is a form of flattery. 




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Musings of Dr Liz - Welcome to 2018, and Goodbye to 2017

2018 - we welcome your arrival. We have alot of high hopes for  you this year, as after all, you are very very special year.

You are the year that converts Russell Vale Animal Clinic into "Celebrating 20 years" fever!

2018 - you have to deliver! You are not like any other year... you are not going to get away with the usual procrastination or "there is always next year" that many other years have got away with.

Just to remind you, 2018, as you were not there at the time  - Russell Vale Animal Clinic opened in April 1998 when the only kids Dirk and I had were Tegan and Haiden, with Jenna, the dog, and Jaime, our cat.

Sean was born in the first year of our vet hospital, whilst Paige came along in the second year of our opening.  A huge challenge in any business, let alone one that cares for animals. Don't forget that 2018. We have face some decent challenges, so no need to give us any more.

2018, this is the year that also celebrates all of the children of Dr Liz and Dirk are now all adults!  Woo Hoo!

This is also the year that our eldest daughter is engaged to be married to the love of her life, two of our kids are in their second year of university, studying hard towards their future life, and our youngest - is on her "gap year" until she figures out what part of the art world she is going challenge. 




Tegan and Grant - Congratulations!

2018, we hope that there is going to be alot more to celebrate this year,  but we will give you updated performance appraisals as the year goes on.  It's the least we can do in anticipation of how great you are going to be in your role as "the new year of the mad house".

2017, your predecessor, well, they left alot of things undone, and whist their performance was overall outstanding,  they really failed to live up to their potential. They didn't get new signage, the landscaping is only half done, and the website? 2017 didn't put much effort into that.  

Maybe I am being harsh!

Yes,  2017 you did bring our KLaser, a Class IV Medical therapy laser, which has helped so many pets on their road to recovery from their illnesses and injuries.  And yes, those goggles do look cute!  Well, actually, this is a big feather in 2017's cap!  Well done in bringing one of many Dr Liz's dreams into reality!




You also brought a new paint job inside and outside of our vet hospital.  The inside walls are no longer "Antique White" but a lovely shade of grey with white trims.  And yes, it took alot to convince me to paint the main window.

Do you realise that 20 years ago, I spent the better half of 3 weeks scraping off 8 layers of paint of those windows? Back to timber, so I could stain it?  I had to succumb to "fashion" and have it painted.   But yes, it does look B....y Great!  

2017, you also brought new flooring too!   Gone is the yellow!  At least the yellow hid the dog's pee well. Unfortunately, dogs don't care what colour the floor is when they want to add to the post it note of "I was here too". 

Outside though, has been the biggest transformation - from painting the roof, new guttering, removing a tree or two,  as well as painting the cladding, the building renovation is almost complete.  


Signage was going to be changed in 2017 too  but getting a design I was happy with has been, well, a challenge. It now becomes 2018's problem.  Sorry 2018! 

2017, we will all agree, was the "Year of the Work Experience Student", as we welcomed so many enthusiastic young, eager and idealistic young ones. 

For them it is all about the animals and what we can do to help them.  It is hard giving them the reality of what we do, in dealing with pet owners who are unable or unwilling to pay for their pet's care, without destroying their idealistic view that everyone cares about animals as much as they do. 

2017 was also the year that we let Dr Andrew from Veterinary Specialists of Sydney visit us - well, 'let" is probably harsh, but as my vet hospital and her pets are like my children, I admit to being fussy who I will recommend or allow to operate on them. He came to see us three times, and operated on 7 pets - ranging from removing salivary glands, repairing broken legs, amputating limbs and cruciate repairs. 

What else did 2017 have in store for us?   The lovely Erin, who spent a week doing work experience with us in 2016, then worked as a volunteer with us soon after whilst she Completed her Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing.  In 2017, she began working for us on a permanent part time basis.  You would've have seen her most Thursdays, as she does alot of the background work that keeps us going. 

And then, Woonona High School gave us another wonderful student, Beck, who did her work placement with us in 2017.  In September,. she joined us under a Traineeship to graduate from High School with her Cert II in Animal Studies. 

2017, you gave us an interesting year! 

It did end with an impromptu media spot on WIN news.  Poor Dirk.  When he said yes to an interview with me,  he thought it was a phone one, so when they turn up with a camera and reporter, well, it was a shock!  He now knows that WIN news is TV!  We never get home in time to watch the news, is our excuse! 

Alot of things went wrong too in 2017  - well, perhaps that is harsh. Worked against us, is probably a better phrase.  The traffic flow changed dramatically on Bellambi Lane, and it had to happen whilst Dirk and I were away at the FASAVA/World Vet Dental Congress in the Gold Coast.  Why do they need two lanes turning north? when most of us usually head south most of the time!  Bureaucracy and money! No need to say anything further. 

It was also the year of the most amazing disgustingly designed graffitti ever - (no, this is not a dare for someone else to do something worse).  I have seen some beautiful graffitti art, but what was done on our building in 2017  was pure vandalism.  You can still see it - it is on our window signage which will cost thousands of dollars to replace. 

Someone also decided they liked my name, my address and my birthdate, and so, ordered two iphones in my name!  It took a weekend or two of multiple visits to JP's, Police and vodafone to get that debacle sorted. How easy it is to order such stuff, and how complicated it is to undo it. 

Then there was the idiot whose girlfriend brought in a stray kitten, but in exchange, stole our bluetooth speaker.  The speaker that we use to send out relaxing music to reduce the fear, anxiety and stress of visiting pet owners and their pets. 

2017 was also the year that I did not blog at all - for some that could be a good thing! The reasons why I didn't share what I had written is long, but I am going to ignore those reasons for 2018.

Warning, 2018... the blogging mad Dr Liz.....is BACK! 

Overall, 2017, I think you did alright, all things considered. I hadn't planned on doing much, but you just had to throw a firecracker or two in to get things happening.

2018, be prepared for a ride!  I am so excited about the plans I have for you.  If you don't like them, that is ok!  My favourite catch phrase is "We plan, God laughs".  So, you will be forgiven for throwing me a few sidecurves, a challenge or four, a hurdle the size of Mt Keira to stumble over. I

All I can say is, I am back and I am excited!

 as well as for Dirk and I with our kids

I am Dr Liz, the mad vet from Bellambi.

Introducing my family
The humans - Tegan, Haiden, Sean and Paige, my children with my life partner, Dirk (it is his thumbs in the photo)
the furkids Pandora, Pumpkin (at the vets)  Piper, Dash, Stone (at home) , Marble (with Tegan) , Bun Bun (our rabbit at home) , Gandalph (the guinea pig at work) and Hobbs (the newest three legged friend of Marble).



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Is it OK for my dog to eat Pork fat (and other leftovers)?

Christmas is an amazing time, isn't it.  In fact, it was so great this year, that I ended up spending two days afterwards in bed exhausted - from working right up to Christmas, and then dealing with the cooking and cleaning of Christmas family day. 

How easy is it when you are slicing up the ham, with your dog sitting right next you, looking at you with their big eyes, to slice a bit extra and give them a tid bit.  Or after the family leaves, and you are cleaning up - all of those leftovers might as well go to your dog, rather than chuck them away for landfill.  It won't hurt will it.
"Oops - how did that slice of ham go from my hand to my pet!"

If it wasn't for Piper's food allergies, even if I did know better, I would've slipped her a piece or three of leftovers.  Like many of other loving pet owners - I am human too.  It is hard looking at those big beautiful eyes, and not succumbing to them.

It's also human (and Aussie) to think "She'll be right mate!".  After all, alot of us grew up with our pets just eating the leftovers anyway, and they seemed to do perfectly fine.

At work today, I had several people ask me if it was OK for their pet to have eaten the leftover pork, or ham.

The short answer is "No, its not OK".

The long answer is - ham is very high is salt and fat, and roast pork is equally usually very fatty with extra herbs and spices. They, with the leftover fat of steaks, and the sausages from the BBQ, are the more common causes of  a very common summer digestive problem, called Pancreatitis. 
This is NOT OK!

Pancreatitis is an expensive but in many cases, a preventable problem.  At this time of year, no matter how much we love our animals, there is no need for many pets to succumb to this terrible disease.

Sadly, there are also many animals who are just prone to the condition, and even on a normal diet, may get sick and unwell.

So exactly what is Pancreatitis?  It is an inflammation of the pancreas, which is a small organ that lies parallel to the upper part of the small bowel.  When it is inflamed, it tickles the intestine, and the adjacent stomach and liver. 

What signs will you see?  With many pets with low grade chronic pancreatitis, all you may see is the occasional vomit.  For others, with severe acute pancreatitis, there may be severe vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, abdominal pain and fever. 

For more information on pancreatitis itself, click here.

So, what should you do if you were a bit naughty, gave your pet a few too many fatty treats, but they seem OK?

Well, the best thing you can do is to switch immediately to a low fat highly digestible food - such as cooked chicken with yoghurt.

Feed small amounts often, as we do not want to overstimulate the pancreas, but we do want to give the intestinal lining nutrition.

Other options include steamed white fish. 

If cooking is not your thing, then come in and ask - we have several tasty options available. 
A low fat but tasty alternative.


So what should you do if your pet is vomiting and/or has diarrhoea and/or is lethargic and/or not eating much?

See a vet ASAP - Pancreatitis is not a condition that you should wait and see if they are going to get better on their own.

 If it is severe or aggressive enough, complications can arise - such as adhesions, pancreatic abscesses, liver damage or even death.

 Treatment often involves fluid therapy, pain relief, gastric support and of course, exceptional veterinary and nursing care that every pet deserves. 

Once you have been through it with your pet, you will appreciate how something so little, like a tiny bit of ham can cause serious harm.  If there is one thing that our pets deserve, it is to be loved and looked after - and giving them ham, pork, sausage or fatty offcuts is not the way to do it.


I am Dr Liz, the mad vet from Bellambi.  Wishing all pets to stay happy and healthy this Christmas as we head towards 2017!


Take it easy everyone.