Since 1962 Pittwater Animal Hospital has looked after the needs of thousands of pets and their owners on the Northern Beaches. In that time we have evolved into one of the most modern and capable practices to be found anywhere in the country.
Today we are doing more complex operations, diagnosing rare and often quite intriguing conditions and employing increasingly sophisticated techniques. In fact, because of the preventative programs we’ve been introducing, your pets are living longer, healthier lives. The best evidence of this are the many geriatric conditions we now help manage, to keep your pet comfortable and happy in their twilight years.
Below is an introduction to the services we offer:
In some respects our reception area would be similar to many others, perhaps a bit airier and more spacious. You’ll see shelves stocked with quality foods and medicines, even a fridge for the vets-only Tucker Time range. Large digital scales are embedded in the floor and accessories like collars, leads and toys are available for purchase. Numerous pamphlets covering all manner of pet conditions, as well as local pet services can be found. And, of course, a computer network with brand new software and Web access.
But what sets the PAH reception area apart are the nurses you’ll find there. Dedicated, hard-working and extremely knowledgeable, they field literally hundreds of queries daily. When they make suggestions or offer advice, you can be assured they know what they are talking about and if they don’t they will seek veterinary advice. For advice you can really trust you are in the right place at Pittwater Animal Hospital. To find out more about their individual qualifications, check Your Vets and Nurses.
We have three consulting rooms, all air conditioned, each with a networked computer, which gives us instant access to your pet’s history. We’ve made our rooms larger than most, so that we can properly assess your pet’s ability to move about, as well as enabling multiple family members to attend.
We recently acquired an Idexx Catalyst blood analyser . This incredibly sophisticated, computer-driven instrument enables us to perform biochemical tests whenever we need them, rather than being restricted to the operating hours of commercial pathology labs. Needless to say, such flexibility comes in very handy during late-night emergencies and on weekends.
Using the biochemistry analyser we can run a full range of 23 blood tests, including the electrolytes, sodium, potassium and chloride. All in less than 10 minutes. This means you don’t have to go home and wait for the results. However, for more unusual tests, haematology and histopathology of biopsy samples, we send specimens to Idexx Pathology Lab in Rydalmere.
By acquiring a hospital-grade radiographic system, we’ve said goodbye to the dated technology of X-ray film. The fully digital radiograph processor combined with modern X-ray plates gives us clearer and more informative images than ever before. Once they’re processed, we can magnify or adjust the image to see even the smallest of bone fractures and soft tissue changes that were previously undetectable. Thus, we can now diagnose an even wider range of problems.
This new technology also means we’re able to cater for dogs weighing as much as 80kg all the way down to baby budgies.
These x-rays can be easily sent to specialists if needed in more complex cases. The vet will go through the x-rays with you and you can also easily take a photo on your phone, to take home for the family to see.
Our vets are very well trained in modern anaesthetic techniques and use a variety of medications to induce and maintain your pet in a safe state of sleep during surgery. Whilst under anesthetic our Cardell® monitor allows us to watch your pet’s vital signs as they sleep. Continuous heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, blood pressure and core body temperature are all available at the flick of a switch. Throughout your pet’s surgical procedure, our experienced nurses are not just relying on these instruments, they are also trained to look for problems which may arise during an anaesthetic.
Our surgical facilities at PAH include a dedicated surgery with operating table, patient-monitoring equipment and theatre lights, as well as suction and electrocautery equipment. Our surgical nurses ensure that surgical packs are ready every morning and drapes and instruments are constantly upgraded. The area must be kept aseptically clean to reduce the risk of postoperative infections (This is a priority for all of us.)
We perform an extensive range of surgical procedures, including suturing up wounds from dog fights, mending broken legs, repairing fractured jaws, complicated skin flap reconstructions following tumour removals, as well as amputations and intestinal surgery. Even complex operations on the lungs and airways can be performed. We should add that all of our veterinarians are very experienced, highly capable soft-tissue surgeons and regularly handle desexings, abscesses, biopsies, lumpectomies and other such cases.
Along with broken legs we commonly perform joint stablization surgery, especially in the case of cruciate ligament rupture in the knee. Because these surgical procedures require a high degree of expertise and experience, we have vets with strong interest in orthopaedic work which has led to our achieving some tremendous results.
By the way, unlike the human hospital system we have no waiting-list problem; most surgery is performed within a few days, or if it’s an emergency we usually do the surgery immediately.
For more complicated orthopaedic problems we have a specialist surgeon who will come in and operate on your pet. This keeps your pet under our care and in a familiar environment for post-operative care and follow up.
Very sick pets need extra diligent management to help pull them through. We go out of our way to make sure these animals are as comfortable as possible, keeping them warm and dry and regularly monitoring their condition. We have seven infusion pumps for intravenous fluids, three heat mats and two intra-nasal oxygen delivery systems. The latter are critical for very sick animals, in particular the victims of tick bites, for which we also have a suction pump.
Our pharmacy is well stocked with all the drugs we could need in a hurry. A dedicated crash cart carries emergency medications prepared for immediate use, and our vets and nurses regularly rehearse emergency procedures to consistently provide sick pets the best possible care.
Often overlooked, dental care is extremely important to the overall health of pets. Animals with dirty, inflamed teeth due to tartar and gingivitis should be treated with a prophylactic scale and polish.
Regular cleaning of teeth with a scale and polish really helps retain teeth for longer and can dramatically increase your pet’s quality of life. Good dental health is proven to improve or avoid other medical conditions and extends your pet’s healthy life.
Infected or damaged teeth need to be extracted. Thankfully, we have both the equipment and skills to make it all happen with minimal discomfort for your pet. Most of our dental patients feel much better after having sore teeth removed.
Our Pittwater Dental Program includes discounted dentals and free dental checks for animals who need their teeth carefully monitored. This program has been extremely successful in improving the dental health and general well being of your pets, all at a more affordable price.
Birds, reptiles and small furry creatures
Diagnosing problems in quite small animals can be extra difficult for several reasons. First, their size makes them hard to examine. Then there’s the fact that often they exhibit few signs of illness. Worst of all, they commonly go downhill quite rapidly once they contract a serious ailment.
Fortunately, all five PAH veterinarians have had extensive experience with the most common small animals we see, namely: rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs. Even more encouraging, over the past few years our anaesthetic success has improved dramatically, with these little mammals recovering quickly from de-sexing, dental work and surgery.
This has earned PAH an enviable reputation for work in this area. Owners of parrots, finches, lizards, snakes and even tortoises will bring their ailing pets many kilometers to see us. Over the years we have used our extensive expertise to diagnose such complex problems as diabetes and kidney disease in birds and respiratory and fungal skin disorders in snakes.
NSW law requires that all dogs and cats be microchipped before they are sold or re-homed. They also must be registered with your local council by the time they are six months old and also wear a collar with an identification tag. Fortunately, microchipping is quick, relatively painless and inexpensive.
Using a special instrument, we implant a tiny microchip encased within a sterile and inert glass capsule just under the skin at the base of the neck. Because the microchip quickly bonds into the animal’s tissue, it’s virtually impossible to lose, alter or intentionally remove.
PAH acts as the holding facility for the council so is often the first place a lost animal is taken. Our nurses all have to ability to access the microchip database and sort out any microchip issues.
The Companion Animal Registry (run by the NSW Government) records your pet’s details and keeps them on hand for the rest of its life. This way anyone with a scanner can read your animal’s unique number. They then call the Registry which, in turn, accesses your information, contacting you directly to protect your privacy.
There are other registries which offer Australasia-wide databases. They are easy and inexpensive to join and allow your dog or cat to be identified anywhere in Australia or New Zealand. Ideal for pets with the travel bug.
Dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets should be vaccinated annually to prevent contagious viral diseases. At the same time we will carry out a full veterinary examination and preventative health care review. To make sure your pet doesn’t miss its vaccination, each year we send out a reminder when the next one is due.
You will find more information in the Fact Sheets
As well as full surgical and medical facilities, we manage an in-house pharmacy which supplies nearly all the drugs your pets will need. We can chose from a wide variety of medications with proven efficacy in animals. We stock the prophylactic medications which we feel are most useful to avoid parasites such as heartworm, fleas, ticks and intestinal worms.
At PAH you can feel assured you are getting the most current and effective medication at the correct dose at the right time. Our SMS reminder system and Preventative Health Reviews gives you confidence your pet is well protected.
The pharmacy also contains medications that aid in the management of heart disease, bacterial infections, fungal disorders, urinary incontinence, gastrointestinal problems, thyroid disorders, diabetes, hyperadrenocorticism, hypertension and anxiety. We also have a range of anti-inflammatories and pain relievers for chronic and acute conditions.
Sometimes animals are difficult to medicate and our compounding service can make up liquid medications or doses than can be rubbed on the skin of the ear. This makes it easier for you the client.
Because all these pharmaceuticals must be kept in stock and up to date, Gen Uren, our inventory and marketing nurse, continually monitors supplies and, most important, their expiry dates.
Over the past decade or so, we have seen an increasing number of specialist services become available to Sydney veterinarians. By establishing good working relationships with a number of them, we can sometimes make a phone call to take advantage of their particular knowledge in the case of small but unusual problems.
For more difficult problems we will refer you to one of those specialists who has earned our trust and confidence in order to give your pet the optimal chance of cure or control. (A word of caution. Specialists are independent practitioners and we have no say about their fees. So it’s a good idea to ask about any and all charges when you call to make an appointment.)
Our sense of responsibility doesn’t end just because you’ve taken your pet to a specialist. If you find yourself faced with difficult decisions regarding the recommended treatment, please don’t hesitate to ring us. We’ll be pleased to help you evaluate your options.
Pittwater Animal Hospital supports the future of veterinary science through a range of training programmes. As an accredited practice for Sydney University’s Veterinary Student Internship Program, we help final-year students hone their medical and surgical skills during four weeks of hands-on experience. At the same time they learn the kind of valuable practical techniques that can’t be taught in a classroom. We also provide extramural clinical studies for students from the new Charles Sturt University Veterinary School.
Since 1995 we have hosted secondary school students for their Year 10 work experience programs as well as other teenagers completing community service activities for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. The experience they gain working here often leads these students into casual holiday or even full-time employment as animal attendants, nurses and veterinarians.
In local primary schools we have supported the Pet Pep Program, made school visits and managed Pets in Schools projects. When it comes to promoting social responsibility and animal welfare in our community, you can’t start too early.
Since 1994 PAH has been running classes which help puppies properly socialise so that they become well adjusted adults that are not only wonderful companions but good citizens as well. To find out much more about the curriculum, session times, class sizes and special discounts, just visit our Puppy Preschool page.
Dog and cat bathing and grooming
There are a number of excellent groomers in this area who will look after your dog. Some dogs however a very difficult to clip, so Pittwater Animal Hospital can assist by sedating and clipping your animal at the hospital. This is very important, as an unkempt coat can lead to irritating matting and skin disorders.
PAH has a hydrobath where nurses can apply medicated washes for dogs and cats if they are difficult to wash at home. Animals who have had tick exposure are tick-rinsed in the hydrobath with the soaking mixture left on to try to kill any hiding ticks.
Cats are commonly sedated and clipped at PAH. This is usually a short clip to control the hair and remove irritating matts. Areas can also be left long and brushed out for appearance.
Rabbits are occasionally clipped but mainly just around their belly and bottom as they have very fragile skin.
Maintaining a healthy coat is really important for the happiness of your pet and the enjoyment you get from them.
Pittwater Animal Hospital offers indoor boarding at very reasonable rates. Because we have exceptionally roomy cages, you either can board a cat alone or with another cat from the same family. We will feed and clean them twice a day and look in on them on a regular basis.
Obviously, if your cat is on any sort of medication, we will see to that as well. Also, it’s not uncommon for boarded pets to have their desexing operations or dental work done during their stay with us.
Before he or she heads home, we can brush your cat and, if they will let us, clip its nails. We also generally clean the carry cage. If you don’t have a carry cage, we’ll loan you one for a fully refundable deposit.
We will readily come to your home for simple procedures such as vaccinations, lameness and euthanasia. However, complex problems requiring special equipment like our X-ray or blood-testing machines, the administration of unusual drugs or hospitalisation make such calls impractical.
Pet care advice
It puzzles us that people will go to a pet shop for advice when they can find considerably more knowledge and objectivity right here. Collectively, our nurses and vets are a font of useful information. Moreover, with our extensive and ongoing experience treating pets in this area, we know what techniques and medications are working best at any particular time.
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service
If you are travelling overseas for an extended stay and want to take your pet, you will need an AQIS-accredited veterinarian to organise any treatment and paperwork. It is very important that this is well organised as any missing paper work or incomplete procedure could see your pet unable to travel.
If you need our AQIS services you should contact us well in advance of your departure; different countries have different requirements for entry of animals, and you may have to make an appointment weeks before leaving to complete things in time.
Quality pet foods
One of the major reasons pets are living longer nowadays is the range of high-quality foods that have become available. From years of observation at PAH we have found that pets fed high-quality professional diets are often healthier with shinier coats.
The emerging recognition of the importance of dental health has led us to often recommend specially formulated dental diets which can be fed as your animals complete diet. Dental diets slow the progression of tartar and lead to better smelling breath. Greenies treats can also help keep teeth clean. Many dogs will chew on carrot pieces which are a low calorie treat that helps keep their teeth clean as well.
For those pets with chronic conditions such as bladder stones, kidney disease, intestinal disorders or pancreatitis, we now prescribe foods specially formulated for these conditions. They have proved to be an excellent adjunct to medical treatment and thankfully, have become much more tasty. Palatability is an especially important consideration when pets aren’t feeling their best.
We stock a variety of the pet foods we have found beneficial for your animals. Our staff can recommend the best diets for your individual pet. If you have any questions, just ask any of our vets or nurses.