Sunnybank Veterinary Clinic (07) 3345 6689

Clinic Newsletter

The veterinarians and staff at Sunnybank Veterinary Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy!

Latest Newsletters

Heat stroke – I’m not dressed for this weather

Christmas dinner – what should NOT be on the menu

Scared of the vet – how can you help

Storm phobias

I'm not dressed for this Weather

 With the mercury rising we seek refuge at the beach, under the shade of a tree or in the comfort of an air-conditioned cinema. Unfortunately it is not as easy for our pets to stay cool in our hot Australian climate. Hot weather is a familiar contributing factor to what may result in an emergency visit to the vet.

The heat can affect your pet in a number of ways. Heat stroke and burns are common emergency situations that we face in the Veterinary Clinic.

Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature is elevated beyond a point that has potential to cause harm to the body systems. The body works hard to maintain its’ ideal temperature. In a dog this is 38-39.2°C and a cat 37.7-39.1°. When the surrounding temperature is very high the body may be unable to compensate which causes the body temperature to soar. Left untreated, heat stroke may cause damaged to vital organs and/or result in death.

Early Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive salivation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Bright red gums
  • Wobbly gait
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If left untreated

  • Blood in faeces
  • Shock
  • Organ failure
  • Fluid build-up in lungs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death

 It is important to appreciate a few differences between your furry companion and yourself. Unlike humans dogs cannot sweat, instead they pant to lower their body temperature.  Panting works most of the time though is not as effective as sweating. Would you wear a jumper in summer, not likely? Remember that your pet is covered in a coat and for some TWO COATS! Remember that your pet does not wear shoes! Walking on hot cement/sand HURTS!

BURNS go paw in paw with the heat. We see a number of dogs come into clinics that have bad burns to their little paws. The cement and sand quickly heat up in summer so please remember this when you are contemplating taking your pooch on a walk.

Some of our pinker patients are particularly sensitive to the sun. Dogs and cats are also at risk of sunburn. In breeds that have pink pigmented skin (particularly on their nose and bellies) you can apply some toxin free pet sunscreen to the areas to avoid getting burnt.

How you can help protect your pets from the heat

  • ALWAYS have a source of reliable shelter. Relying on the backyard tree is not sufficient. Your may need to put up a canopy in your yard or allow access to the back patio.
  • Supply a number of water sources for your pet. Your excitable pooch may tip over a bowl of water and being left for a day in 40° heat is a recipe for disaster. Buying weighted drinking bowls is a good idea to prevent tipping.
  • A trip to the local groomer for our thick coated family members may help them keep their cool this summer.
  • Supply a pool. Placing a large but shallow body of water (to avoid drowning) is a good way for pets to cool down. Children’s plastic sandpit shells work well.
  • NEVER leave your pet alone in a car for ANY amount of time.  
  • Stick to walking your dogs during cooler times of the day. Early morning and late in the afternoon are much easier on your pets. Avoid walking on the cement and hot sand
  • Try leaving homemade ice blocks with your pet for a fun game and cool treat. Freeze plain water or flavour with a drop of chicken stock or tuna juice in a large ice cream container.
  • When travelling/walking with your dog, have a supply of water for your journey. Collapsible water bowls can be purchased and you can share your bottle of water.
  • Toxin free pet sunscreen to your dogs’ pink pigmented skin to avoid getting sun burnt.
  • If your pet is showing signs of Heat stroke place damp towels over them (never use ice) to help lower the body temperature. Proceed to your veterinarian immediately.
  • Run cool (not COLD) water over or place damp towels on burnt paws and immediately go to your vet for treatment.


 Jo Tolley (Veterinary Nurse) 2014

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Christmas is a time for family and giving. Of course this includes our furry family members. With Celebration on our minds, FESTIVE FEASTS are abundant during the silly season. It is easy to give into loving eyes when sharing our indulgent treats, but please think twice before inviting your barking, meowing, slithering or chirping family members to Christmas dinner.

What’s on the on the menu this year? Garlic coated ham, caramelised onions, juicy lamb cutlets, rich fruit cake and a nibbling of chocolate. All washed down with your favourite cold beverage! When you and I may end up with a stomach ache or a slumbering “food coma” a Christmas menu such as this may cause medical disaster for your pet.

The following list includes a number of foods that are extremely dangerous and potentially life threating to our favourite family members.

FATTY MEATS: The fat in our favourite meat can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas and symptoms may include abdominal pain, lethargy, in appetence, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhoea.

CHOCOLATE/COCOA: One more won’t hurt. Well It’s a different story for your pet. Chocolate is highly toxic and causes heart palpations, arrhythmias, seizures, vomiting and diarrhoea…. So hide the sweet treats.

ALCOHOL/CAFFEINE: Your festive beverage is harmful to your pet causing vomiting diarrhoea as well as depression, slow respiration rate, excitement and potential cardiac arrest. Hops (found in beer) causes dangerously elevated temperatures, muscle tremors and seizures not to mention the caffeine found in many “mixers”.

CHRISTMAS CAKE/PUDDING: Packed full of dried fruit (raisins/grapes) which cause kidney and liver failure, nuts (especially macadamia) which may causes weakness, panting and nervous system damage AND alcohol this tasty Christmas dessert is extremely toxic to your pet.

AVOCADO: Found in many of our tasty dips and Christmas salads avocado causes vomiting diarrhoea and heart congestion.

COOKED BONES: Bones pose numerous threats to your pet. They can fracture teeth cause constipation and become lodged in the mouth/throat. Bones can become stuck in the digestive tract and require emergency surgical removal.

ONIONS/GARLIC:  We love some extra flavour but onions and garlic damage red blood cells in our pets and can cause anaemia.


So trim the trimmings from your pets meal and avoid an emergency this Christmas!

By Jo Tolley December 2014

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DON’T say the “V” word!!

Come on let’s go to the V…. E…. T

A simple visit to the vet may be stressful to both you and your pet. As pet guardians we may be tempted to put off or cancel a vet visit to avoid this kind of stress.

Luckily it doesn’t have to be this way! No one likes to upset a friend so it is important that we address the issue and support your pet with the help of your veterinary team.

We can appreciate that people of the four legged nature see the world a bit differently than we do. Sight, sound, and smell rule their worlds and sometimes a friendly pat or loving voice is not enough to calm their nerves. So how can you help? Here are a few tips and tricks to entice your pet and have them waiting at the door to visit their Doctor and nurses!


Don’t be embarrassed, lots of people share the same experience as you when they visit us. Let the friendly team know that your best friend is a bit nervous. This way we can make your appointment at a more suitable time. You may prefer to visit when there is less likely to be other animals in the waiting room, or wait in your car until “the coast is clear”. We can also prepare ourselves to comfort your pet.


The shock of seeing new faces can be a new experience for some pets. This may be making the trip to the vet unnerving. Attending puppy preschool at the start of your dog’s journey is a great way of getting them used to other animals, people, and the veterinary environment (many vet clinics run Puppy classes). Introduce your kitten to lots of different people and perhaps even some supervised visits with cat friendly pooches.


You’re going to put that thermometer WHERE? Your pet may not be used to having their paws, belly, mouth, ears, and eyes and bottom touched and examined. Practising with your pet at home to get used to being touched will prepare them for a visit. Make a habit of playing with your pet’s ears, paws, and mouth in the comfort of your home so that it isn’t such a new experience at your consultation. Make sure your reward him/her for accepting touch.


You CAN teach old dogs new tricks. If you missed puppy preschool there’s still hope. Try visiting local dog parks or beaches where you know you will meet some new friends. Don’t force your pet to say hello and be sure to reward them for friendly encounters with pats, kind words and perhaps the odd treat. They will be frolicking in no time!


Some cats may be easily spooked during the trip to and from the clinic. Covering your cat’s carry cage with a blanket can often calm your cat’s nerves as they can’t see what is happening around them.


Don’t need to see the vet? That’s ok if your friend tends to be a bit nervous when visiting us why not pop in for a hello and a cuddle from a friendly face. We can never get enough cuddle time so the nurses are more than happy to give them the attention they need to shift their fear. Making a trip to the vet enjoyable is important to shift fears associated with the occasion. A friendly cuddle instead of a sneaky needle / thermometer can be enough to win your best mate over.


Take it slow; changing the way your pet perceives a veterinary trip may take time and perseverance. It is important that you and your pet have a stress free and enjoyable visit to us. Your Sunnybank Veterinary family are here to help and support you both to reach your goals.

Jo Tolley , Qualified Veterinary Nurse

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Dogs and storm phobias – myth busting 

It’s widely accepted that dogs have a fear of storms and other loud noises, even the Brisbane City Council issues reminders to make sure our dogs are safe during storms or fireworks. The myth about dogs and their storm phobias, however, is that it’s “just one of those things” and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Dogs are genetically predisposed to developing anxieties. Storm phobias in dogs are a form of anxiety and there are several options for helping to manage storm phobias specifically and anxieties in dogs generally. See our dog behaviour handout for more information about general behaviour problems in dogs.

If your dog has a storm phobia, or you believe they do, we can help.

Signs of storm phobia in dogs:

  • Hiding in safe, contained places such as under beds, under stairs.
  • Trying to escape by digging holes or climbing fences.
  • Pacing.
  • Whining.
  • Hyperexcitability.
  • Toileting inside the house.
  • Shaking or trembling.

Sometimes storm phobias can be caused by medical problems so our first step in helping you and your dog survive the storm season is performing a full physical examination and a comprehensive blood test to rule in or out any medical causes. If there is no evidence of a medical cause of anxiety in your dog we can tailor an appropriate routine for you to implement at home during the storm season. This requires preparation before storms hit in order to prevent the phobia in your pooch.

If your dog has a storm phobia, phone us on 3345 6689 to make an appointment and discuss the options for management of this distressing problem.

Dr Josephine Clapham, BVSc (Hons)

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