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What services does Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinic provide?

Here at Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinic we offer a wide range of services such as radiology (including dental x-rays), dentistry, ultrasonography (including pregnancy diagnosis) and surgeries (Such as routine Desexing, lump removals, stitch ups, C-sections, foreign body removals and other soft tissue surgeries). We commonly work closely with a team of specialists who can travel to out clinic to perform more advanced orthopaedic surgeries.

The Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinic has an in house laboratory where we can perform various diagnostic testing such as urinalysis, faecal parasite testing, ear swabs and lump cytology. We also have an in-house blood machine which can give us results within 30 minutes. This includes complete blood counts, biochemistry, thyroid and progesterone levels.

If you have an enquiry about whether we offer a particular service, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly receptionists on 52614137 for more information.


When does the Anglesea Veterinary Clinic Open?

Anglesea is open 8:30am-9:30am Monday to Friday (Excluding public holidays). There is always a veterinarian there for routine appointments, however more complex cases may still need a visit to our main clinic at Torquay. It is a ‘walk in’ clinic with no appointment necessary.

The clinic is located at 1a Diggers Parade, Anglesea


When should I worm my pet?

  • It is advised to worm your pet every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks of age, then monthly after that until they are six months of age.
  • From then it will depend on which product is used. Worming your pet with a high quality all-wormer every three months will maintain effective worm prevention.
  • It should be noted that worming should be performed regardless of whether worms are seen in the stool or not, as many are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
  • A high quality all-wormer is available from the clinic. No appointment necessary. For more information, come in and speak with one of our friendly staff members.

How can I check my details on my pets microchip are up to date?

There are multiple microchip registry databases available in Australia. If you would like to check where your pets microchip is registered you can find out at

We recommend registering your pets microchip with Central Animal Records as this is the largest database in Australia and the website is very user friendly.

At you can check and update your pets microchip details to ensure they can be tracked back to you if they get lost.


Does your clinic offer Puppy Preschool classes?


We offer Puppy Preschool classes here, upstairs in our brand new puppy school room on a Wednesday night from 6:45-7:45pm.

To take part in Puppy Preschool, puppies need to have had their first vaccination and be aged between 8-16 weeks. The course runs for four weeks and is conducted by professional dog trainer Lynne White.

If you have any further questions or would like to enrol your new puppy, please contact us on 03 5261 4137 and one of our friendly reception staff will be happy to assist you.


When should I take my puppy for a walk?

To be 100% safe you should not take your puppy for a walk until 10 days after its 3rd (16 weeks of age) vaccination.

However, a puppy’s critical socialization period is between 3 & 14 weeks of age.

The benefit of socialising a puppy during the 8 to 12- week period outweighs the risk of viral exposure provided it is done in the safest possible setting. Safer settings include:

  • Puppy classes where the floor has been properly disinfected
  • Dogs of known vaccinated status visiting your premises
  • The intertidal zone at the beach

The risk associated with these safer areas should be discussed with your Veterinarian


What breed of puppy should I buy?

It is such an exciting time when you are thinking about adding a puppy to your family but it can be a difficult decision when trying to pick the perfect breed to suit your lifestyle. There are so many options to contemplate over, 200-500 different recognised dog breeds depending on which country you talk to. The following link is a great Australian site to pick your perfect dog breed: and you can also do this short quiz

#007 Canine Nutrition

We focus so much on our own nutrition, but what about our pets? What are their requirements? What is the best thing to be feeding them?

A healthy dogs diet should contain a good quality protein source with this being the major part of their diet. This also impacts greatly on the difference in pet food prices. If the protein source is meat based, it will of course cost more than a legume based protein source. You can easily check this on the ingredients list. Obviously dogs being carnivores are more suited to an animal based protein source.

The rest of the diet is made up of carbohydrates, fibre, fats, vitamins and minerals. These need to be balanced, essential fatty acids for joints and skin are great but too much of the bad fats can cause problems.

All too often (particularly this time of year) we see dogs coming in with terrible stomach pains and vomiting, after being fed sausage’s off the BBQ, or the fat off the ham, resulting in a disease called ‘pancreatitis’. Dogs digestive systems are not designed to handle high fatty foods and these should ALWAYS be avoided.

When feeding a good quality food to a healthy dog you will find that you actually need to feed a smaller portion. They are not made up with fillers, just good quality nutrition. You will also find less faecal matter to pick up from the back yard and your dog should have a nice shiny coat.

How much to feed not only relates to the size of the dog but also the age, activity level and metabolism rate. A good guide is, if you can easily feel your dog’s ribs and they have a waste line, you’re feeding the right amount, if not, adjust accordingly.

I prefer feeding once daily, but 2 small meals a day can be okay. However, never leave food out for them to graze and never feed before exercise.

The above guide is for a healthy adult pet. Puppies, geriatrics and dogs with illness will have specific requirements and should be feed under Veterinary supervision.

Lastly so long as their diet consists mainly of good quality food, then just like us, life would be boring without a few sensible tasty treats.

Dr Kate Gittings BVSc



Previous Newsletter


#006 Boredom busters for dogs

Imagine being confined within your own home, without ever leaving, only seeing the same few faces day in, day out……   it would start to feel like a prison, you’d start to go a little crazy, you’d certainly get very bored.  Understandably when this happens to dogs, they try to overcome this boredom, often triggering unwanted behaviours such as digging, barking, destroying furniture, developing anxiety, and the list goes on.

It is one lucky dog who gets to travel everywhere with their owner, but clearly this can rarely be a reality.  What can we do in our busy lives to give our dogs the stimulation they deserve?  The number one activity is take them for a walk, this exercises both mind and body, as a bonus its good for us also!  Seeing different sights, smelling different smells, meeting old and new friends is how life was meant to be.  If you can’t manage a long walk, a quick trip around the block is better than nothing at all.  If you’re headed for a surf check or school drop off, then take your dog for the drive, just to get them out of the house, and who knows, once you’re out, you may find time for that walk.  Join or organise your own dog walking group, or employ someone to help you out.

Along with getting out, playing at home activities, keep their bodies and minds active too.  There is the obvious ball fun (note - rolling the ball is better than throwing, to prevent injuries), try a big exercise ball they can push/nudge around.  Why not set up an agility course in the back yard, perhaps a tunnel, a sea-saw, or a hula hoop to jump though. 

For mental stimulation why not teach them some tricks, ‘sit and stay’ or ‘shake’, the concentration required from this can be mentally tiring.  There are loads of tricks to teach, or why not come up with your own unique trick.

When you can’t be with them, leaving them with an independent activity like a ‘treat ball’ can help overcome boredom in your absence.  Toys are great, but rather than leaving the same ones out daily, why not rotate them throughout the week so everyday feels like something new.  Over summer try freezing some treats into a container then empty it out before you leave, this can occupy them for hours.  Get creative or look online, the ideas are endless.

Remember your dog needs both mental and physical activity just like us, with out this life would be very boring and will likely lead to undesired behaviours.  We love hearing your new ideas, so please let us know at the Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics 52614137, or jump on our facebook page ‘Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics’  or go to our Instagram account  Torquay_vet so we can share them.


#005 Snake Bites

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake there is no need to try to identify the snake, don't wait until you see symptoms, your first step should be to phone the vet, and if possible start driving your pet directly to the clinic.  If you do see any symptoms of:

  • sudden weakness, leading to collapse
  • vomiting
  • dilated pupils
  • loss of bowl or bladder control
  • blood in the urine

go straight to the vet, it may be snake bite.

We can test for snake bite first before symptoms appear though, and have a multi-snake antivenom that needs to be administered as soon as possible, along with other important supportive treatments.  

The antivenom binds to the snake venom and stops further damage, and muscle breakdown.  However the initial insult can lead to irreversible kidney damage, and outcomes are not always favourable.  The sooner we treat, the better the outcome.

Snakes are out and about already, so keep away from bushy scrub areas and make lots of noise on the tracks.


#004 The Benefits of Pets

Growing up and finding your place in this world is an amazing and somewhat daunting adventure.  How ideal if children had a pal they could talk to anytime, about anything, who would never judge them, who would be happy to see them every time?

That ideal does exist... a pet!! Whether it be a cat, a dog, a bird, a horse, a bunny, a guinea pig, a fish, a rat, or even a pet sheep, the list goes on, as do the benefits of owning a pet.

Not only will this companion provide eternal friendship and love, it teaches children responsibilities and how to care for someone else. 

It teaches children how to interact with others (away from the screen), and depending on the type of pet, it can help them stay active.

Pets are proven to lower stress levels, enabling children to escape the day-to-day challenges faced.

The sad loss of a pet also helps to introduce the circle of life, and assists in the way children learn to process grief.

All these qualities that are shared with a pet become part of everyday life and relationships.

If you need any advice on what pet might best suit your family please contact us at Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics 52614137.


#003 Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is an often-overlooked but important factor in your dog and cats overall health.  If your pet has a toothache or sore gums, they could be dealing with pain and stress that you may not even know about.  Left untreated, bacteria introduced by the problem can enter the bloodstream and affect the heart, kidneys or liver as well as causing very smelly breath.  Veterinarians report that an estimated 85 percent of dogs over age 4 are suffering from some form of periodontal disease, a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss and infection.

Unfortunately, pets can't care for their teeth themselves, but they can help by gnawing on the right product. A good long chew can help scrape away plaque and dirt, and most dogs are happy to comply. Natural choices include rawhide or smaller raw bones.  Never give harder items, such as cooked bones as these can fracture teeth or splinter in the digestive tract and cause further problems. 

Specially formulated prescription diets such as Hills oral care T/D can help keep your dogs and cats teeth clean and help control oral bacteria and plaque build up.  The diet is formulated with a unique kibble shape that helps scrub away laden plaque in your pets mouth. The product is clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain and tartar build up.  Brushing you pets teeth with a uniquely designed toothpaste is also a great option for hygiene.

Pets with persistent periodontal disease require a routine clean, scale and polish of their teeth under general anaesthesia by your veterinarian.

Call the clinic on 5261 4137 to get a dental checkup



#002 Desexing

Desexing both cats and dogs is a world-wide recommendation with July being 'National Pet Desexing Month'.   There are a range of medical and behavioural benefits in doing so, apart from the obvious reason of minimising unwanted litters.

Entire male pets have higher testosterone levels increasing their tendencies to roam, to mount others, be more dominant and aggressive.  Desexing reduces these hormones - in turn reducing these urges, making them more manageable, with less fighting and wandering.  It does not change their character or personality.

Entire male and female pets urine is often more pungent and used to mark their territory. Following desexing this problems is often eliminated or at the very least reduced. 

The medical benefits to desexing are enormous.  The reduced risk of developing mammary carcinom​a (breast cancer) in females and prostate disease in males.  Mature entire females commonly develop a life threatening uterine infection called ‘pyometra’, this would not happen in a desexed female.

Common myths of making pets fat, lazy or needing to have a littler first are indeed 'MYTHS'.  Even the costs involved out-weigh those of an undesexed pet in the long run.

 It is day procedure, and preferably done around 6 months of age, but can, and should still be done even if your pet is older. 

Please take advantage of the specials on offer for desexing in the month of July, phone the Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics on 5261 4137, we aim to provide the best life-long care for your pet.


#001 Vaccinations

Vaccinations are an important part of preventative health care for pets, in protecting them from common infectious diseases.  In recent times the deadly parvovirus has made a resurgence.  There is no cure for this disease and supportive treatment only, is all that can be offered.  Even with intensive treatment only approximately 85% of patients will survive.  

Puppies and kittens are at the highest risk of contracting these diseases. They receive 3 boosters, 4 weeks apart, starting at the age of 6-8 weeks.

They are not fully covered for protection until after their final 16 week vaccination.  It is important to take care during this time not to expose them to the diseases.

Dogs should receive a C5 vaccination yearly, which protects against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis and kennel cough. The C5 vaccination is required for all dogs going into boarding kennels, as the highly contagious Kennel Cough is easily spread in this environment.

Cats receive an F3 vaccination, which covers feline herpesvirus, calicivirus and feline enteritis (two of these lead to 'cat flu', often a life long problem). Additional vaccines can also be requested and discussed, including Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and feline chlamydia. 

A booster is then given annually or triennially.


#008 Senior Pets

When is my pet considered a senior? It depends on the variations in size and breed of your dog/cat, but on average around the age of 7yo (larger dogs) to 9yo (smaller dogs/cats)!! It seems so young doesn't it? but this is roughly the equivalent of a 50-75yo person.

Just like the senior human family members, our pets are the same.  We can expect to see both mental and physical changes. Common changes we start to see might be arthritic change, sight loss, hearing loss, senility, and more. The key is trying to establish if it is a normal change or a symptom of a treatable medical condition.  

Regular exercise is still so important but may need to be modified, to suit these new ageing needs.  You may start to notice them slowing down, knowing if this is normal or due to arthritis takes a collaboration between you and your vet along with a physical examination.  If arthritic change is found there are many beneficial treatments and management advice that can assist in keeping them comfortable.

Nutritional needs start to change.  'Diet' modification can play an important role in maintaining a healthy weight and can aid in maintaining and supporting healthy organs.  A blood and/or urine test is a great way of detecting early liver or kidney changes to help select appropriate foods.

With most not having brushed their teeth daily, dental disease is a very common problem.  So take a look, are their teeth clean? does their breath smell? if you answered yes, then a dental might be needed.  

Keeping a keen eye for temperament and health changes means they can be addressed quickly by you and your vet. Remembering that one human year equates to approximately seven dog years, so what seemed normal 6 months month’s ago can change drastically in a very short time.


#009 Skin Allergies in Dogs 

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from skin allergies. In general, an allergy is an extreme or 'hypersensitive' response by the body's immune system to offending substances called 'allergens', often resulting in redness and itching of the skin sometimes leading to infection also. This may be seasonal or year-round, depending on the cause. 

Common allergens include fleas, dust mites, certain foods, grasses and pollens. 

Treatment varies widely and an appointment at the vet is needed to establish what will be the most effective and to plan for ongoing management, depending on the cause.  Treatments may include allergen avoidance, a low-allergen food trial, anti-inflammatories, topical solutions and shampoos, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids or immunotherapy to desensitise the dog to the specific allergen.

#0010 Arthritis

Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of the joints. The most common type seen in dogs and cats is degenerative joint disease (also known as osteoarthritis), which is a chronic erosion of joint cartilage resulting from long-term stresses on a joint. This can be due to an old injury, excessive exercise or poor joint conformation or simply old age. It usually starts to show in older animals, but can be seen in some younger pets as well.

Signs of chronic arthritis include:

  • Swollen, painful joints
  • Stiffness when walking or getting up, especially in colder weather
  • Reduced activity, reluctance to walk very far
  • Limping
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Behaviour changes, eg. irritability, depression 

How can we manage it?

The aim of arthritis management is to reduce joint inflammation and keep your pet comfortable, ensuring they have a good quality of life as they get older. Management options include: 

  • Weight management – keeping your pet at a healthy weight can significantly reduce stress on joints
  • Gentle exercise – swimming and walking are great for building muscle without too much stress on joints
  • Joint supplements – glucosamine and chondroitin (eg. Joint Guard) as well as omega-3 and essential fatty acids (eg. fish oil) help protect the joint cartilage. These can all be found in Hills J/D complete dry food for dogs.
  • Cartrophen injections – These injections have been shown to reduce destruction of cartilage and help replace it, as well as increasing joint blood flow and lubrication. The injections are given once a week for 4 weeks, followed by a booster every 3-4 months. At present Cartrophen is not registered for use in cats.
  • Anti-inflammatories – significantly reduce pain and swelling in arthritic joints. These are available for dogs as tablets (eg. Carprofen) or liquid medications (eg. Meloxicam). In cats, Meloxicam liquid can be used. It is recommended that pets on these medications have regular health checks to ensure there are no kidney or gastrointestinal problems, especially as they get older.
  • Pain relief – while anti-inflammatories provide excellent pain relief in most arthritic pets, some need extra help. Tramadol (a narcotic) and Gabapentin (which reduces pain perception) may be prescribed in advanced cases of arthritis, or where anti-inflammatories cannot be used.

#0011 Ear Infections (Otitis)

As vets, ear infections are one of the most common problems we encounter in dogs at the clinic. They can be extremely painful, and owners will often notice their dog shaking or rubbing its head or pawing at its ears.  Often there is a strong-smelling brown discharge coming from the infected ear, and the skin around it may appear red and sore. 

Some dogs are predisposed to otitis due to the shape of their ears, or it can occur when there is a change to the microclimate within the ear canal, eg. an increase in humidity (due to swimming, or hot weather), grass seeds, parasites, allergies, or a tumour. This can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast within the ear, resulting in inflammation and infection. 

Most ear infections can be treated with antibiotic/anti-fungal ear drops. However, in some cases with excessive dirt or hair, or suspicion of something else down the canal, an anaesthetic is required for a thorough ear clean and examination. In many cases swabs are taken to determine the type of bacteria or yeast causing the problem, to ensure we are using the correct treatment.