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What we do


What we do

our range of services

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What we do


What we do

our range of services

It's all about team work

We might be the experts in veterinary medicine and surgery, but you're the expert in your pet.

So it's really important we work well together. That's why we take the time to get to know you.

Our goal is to work with you to:

  • promote and to preserve your pet's health

  • restore your pet's health when it is impaired

  • minimise suffering and distress.

We also work with a range of specialists to offer you care outside Elwood Vet.


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Consultations


Consultations

the heart of what we do

Consultations


Consultations

the heart of what we do

An Elwood Vet consult

Consultation times

We consult from 8 am until 7 pm Monday to Friday and from 9 am until 4 pm on Saturday.

Compared to most vet practices, our appointment times are quite long. This is because we know that good quality care takes time. We allow 20 minutes for a standard appointment and 40 minutes for any new patient appointment (and no, there’s no extra charge for the longer appointment, it’s still $75).

 

What to expect in a consultation?

A vet will perform around 200,000 consultations in a professional lifetime. So it's no surprise that we often forget that the consultation process isn't familiar to everyone. 

While every consultation is unique, there's a standard structure. During a consultation you can expect:

  • to be asked why you've brought your pet in (identifying the presenting problem or problems)

  • to be asked to talk more about this problem such as when symptoms started and your pet in general (gathering a history)

  • your pet to be examined (performing a physical examination)

  • to discuss the physical findings in relation to the presenting problem and history (creating an accurate problem list)

  • to be given a diagnosis or potential diagnoses (determining differentials)

  • to discuss what happens next, which may include medical or surgical treatment, further investigation or no treatment (shared decision making and treatment planning)

  • to talk about what to expect, what to watch for and what to do if worried (safety netting)

 

It can be a lot to take in

We know from studies of people seeing their doctor that when we walk out of the consultation room most of us forget what we've heard.

That's why we offer additional ways to take the information in. We can:

  • give you access to your pet’s medical notes via our secure client portal

  • email the medical notes from your consultation (note we have to have your email on file for this)

  • provide other information (eg fact sheets, websites)

  • have follow up discussions on the phone or in person

 

Questions to ask

Although these come from human medicine, here are three questions every pet owner should ask when offered a treatment or investigation:

  • What are the options?

  • What are the specific benefits and harms to my pet?

  • What happens if I do nothing?

 

Different personalities and communication styles

All our vets are highly qualified and very experienced, so you can be sure that the quality of care doesn't depend on who you see.

But we're different people with different communication styles and you might find that you just gel with Donald or really like the way Deb explains something. That's great! We encourage you to see whoever you feel most comfortable with – and none of us mind if you want to see someone else.

 

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Preventive care


Preventive care

because staying well is better than getting well

Preventive care


Preventive care

because staying well is better than getting well

Prevention

We all know that prevention is better than cure, but it's is more than just yearly vaccination. Did you know that we actually practice four levels of prevention – primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary?

But not all preventive activities are effective or needed for every pet – prevention need to be tailored for you pet based on individual risks.

Primary prevention

Primary prevention is all about protecting health and preventing the onset of disease. It involves taking action before there is any sign of disease or injury.

Examples of primary prevention include:

  • vaccination to protect against the effects of a disease agent (virus or bacteria)
  • good nutrition
  • dental care
  • neutering
  • parasite control (eg fleas, ticks, heartworm)
  • teaching pet owners about potential risks to avoid (eg lilies for cats and grapes for dogs)

Secondary prevention

Secondary prevention is about catching things early (before symptoms appear). It involves screening tests and procedures to detect serious conditions as soon as possible so we can intervene to slow or stop progression and maybe even reverse the disease.

Examples of secondary prevention include:

  • regular general examinations
  • pre-general anaesthetic blood testing
  • the SDMA blood test to detect early kidney disease
  • teaching pet owners about the early signs of disease to should watch for, and what type of treatment to seek 

Tertiary prevention

Tertiary prevention is about reducing the impact of an ongoing condition. This involve drug and non-drug management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease and arthritis.

Quaternary prevention

Quaternary prevention is about protecting patients against over-medicalisation. This involves avoiding unnecessary testing and treatment.

 

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Diagnostic imaging


Diagnostic imaging

ultrasound and X-ray

Diagnostic imaging


Diagnostic imaging

ultrasound and X-ray

Ultrasound

With our high-quality ultrasound machine and well-trained vets we can provide fast and accurate results with minimal patient stress.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a non-invasive medical imaging technique. It uses sound waves to create detailed images that can then be seen on a computer screen.

Ultrasounds do not involve radiation and can be carried out while there is movement, making them very safe and particularly useful for wriggly pets. As our ultrasound machine is portable, we can also perform scans where the patient is.

Who does ultrasounds at Elwood?

All our vets can use the ultrasound, however most of the detailed studies are done by Raquel, who has over 16 years’ experience in this area.

We don’t perform comprehensive heart ultrasounds (echocardiograms) – these are best done by specialist cardiologists.

When do we recommend ultrasound?

An ultrasound might be recommended for many reasons. You probably know about ultrasound use in pregnancy, but this is actually one of the least common uses for pets. Mostly we use ultrasound to examine organs in the abdomen and sometimes the chest. With the ultrasound we can look for abnormalities in:

  • kidneys
  • adrenal glands
  • liver and gallbladder
  • spleen
  • pancreas
  • stomach
  • intestines
  • bladder
  • uterus and ovaries
  • prostate
  • internal lymph nodes
  • heart
  • lungs (in some situations)
  • blood vessels

We can also examine lumps to see if they need further testing and identify the correct site for a surgical biopsy.

What happens during an ultrasound?

We often perform ultrasounds without any specific preparation. But if you are bringing your pet in for a scheduled ultrasound, we might ask you to fast your pet for 8–12 hours.

To make sure we get sharp images, we need to get good ‘contact’ between the ultrasound probe and the skin. So, we often need to shave away some fur and apply alcohol to the skin before we apply the clear ultrasound gel.

The ultrasound is most commonly done with your pet lying down. We place the ultrasound probe (or transducer) against the skin and then move it with a sliding and rotating action to create a real-time image, which is projected onto a screen. We then take multiple short video clips and still images.

Is sedation needed?

Most of the time we can perform an ultrasound without sedation.

Sometimes we might give some sedation to help your pet relax and minimise stress or discomfort. If we intend on taking needle biopsies, we usually provide heavy sedation or even a general anaesthetic because we can’t ask pets to hold still!

How long does an ultrasound take?

An ultrasound can take anywhere from a few seconds to an hour. It depends on what we are looking for. Sometimes we might just need to confirm the presence of free fluid in the chest or abdominal cavity and other times we might need to look at every abdominal organ in detail and take ultrasound-guided biopsies.

How much does ultrasound cost?

A comprehensive abdominal ultrasound costs around $350. Shorter scans cost less.

Additional charges may apply if sedation is required or if we take samples that need to be analysed by a pathologist.

What are the risks of ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a safe examination and the procedure itself presents no risk to the patient.

As with any form of testing or screening, there is a risk of what is called overdiagnosis. This is where we find something that would not have caused a problem if it had not been found, but can lead to further (sometimes invasive) investigation and treatment (ie overtreatment). The best way to avoid this is working with highly experienced vets who are able to interpret findings in context.

We sometimes use ultrasound to help us perform other procedures such as biopsy or draining fluid from a body cavity/organ. These procedures will carry some risk. We only perform them with your consent and if the benefits outweigh any risks.

What are the benefits of ultrasound?

Ultrasound is safe and can provide accurate results without any significant risk to your pet. As a comparison, X-ray and CT use radiation and MRI and CT require a general anaesthetic. These other imaging techniques also often require the use of ‘contrast’, which is a type of dye that is either swallowed or injected into a vein. Injected contrast has caused issues for some human and veterinary patients.

Ultrasound is also readily available and relatively inexpensive.

What are the limitations of ultrasound?

Ultrasound is not useful for looking at bones or in areas where there is air/gas such as lungs. Sometimes the gut will have a lot of gas in it making it difficult to see abdominal structures easily.

Ultrasound is good for identifying abnormalities but it’s not always possible to say what the abnormality is. For example, if we find a lump, we can’t necessarily say whether it’s a malignant cancer or a benign mass. For a definite diagnosis we often need to get a sample of the abnormal tissue.

When can I expect the results of my pet’s ultrasound?

Results are generally available immediately, although a written report may take up to 24 hours.

 


Digital X-rays

Our new Cuattro CloudDR digital X-ray system means we can get clear images of body structures rapidly. 

What are X-rays?

X-rays are a type of radiation. We’re all exposed to some radiation all the time. Unlike some other forms of radiation such as visible light, radiowaves and microwaves, X-rays travel through the body.

An image can be created because the X-rays are absorbed differently by various tissues as they pass through the body. Bones absorb more X-rays and show up as white or light grey. Lungs containing air don’t absorb much and show up as dark grey or black. Other soft tissues will be various shades of grey.

When do we recommend X-rays?

Because of the way they work, X-rays are great for looking at bones and chests. So we might recommend an X-ray if your pet has neck, back, hip or limb problems (eg arthritis, fracture) or if we suspect a lung or heart problem.

While ultrasound has largely replaced X-rays when it comes to looking at abdomens, we do still use X-rays here. For example, if we’re worried about a foreign body causing an intestinal obstruction or if your pet has possibly swallowed something metallic (eg battery), X-rays can be very helpful.

X-rays are also useful for looking at teeth when we need to make decisions about dental work. Dental X-rays show the roots of teeth and cavities that can’t be seen on the surface.

We also perform X-rays during some operations. For example, if we are repairing a fracture or doing a knee reconstruction, we might take X-rays to help us assess alignment and angles.

Who does X-rays at Elwood?

All the clinical staff (ie vets and nurses) take X-rays. We are all trained in radiation safety.

What happens during an X-ray?

Generally, there is no specific preparation for X-rays. Fasting may be recommended if we need to do the X-rays under sedation or anaesthetic.

During the X-ray procedure, your pet is then placed into position and must stay still while we direct the X-ray beam through the area of interest. Any movement will cause a blurred image, so for positions that are awkward or uncomfortable, we often give sedation. If we are holding your pet during the X-ray, we put on lead-lined clothing.

The image is then digitally processed and appears on a computer screen. Here we can manipulate the image (ie make it bigger or darker or rotate it, or compare it to others) and potentially make a diagnosis. Sometimes we will send X-rays to a specialist for their opinion.

Is sedation needed?

Unlike ultrasound, we do need your pet to stay still for an X-ray. So for very wriggly pets or conditions/positions that may be uncomfortable, we will often need sedation. For very painful conditions (eg fractures) or very awkward positions (eg those used for hip scoring), we will often use a short general anaesthetic.

We can often get good chest X-rays without the need for sedation.

How long does it take to get my pet X-rayed?

Digital X-ray examinations are generally quick. Most can be carried out within 15–30 minutes. The whole process may take longer if we need to sedate your pet, or if we need to take multiple images over time (eg watching barium move through the gut).

What are the risks of X-ray?

The use of radiation carries some risk. However, radiation doses used for diagnostic imaging (as opposed to radiation for cancer treatment) are very small and there isn’t any evidence of health effects for pets.

To put things into a human perspective, you would need to have about 38 chest X-rays to get the same amount of radiation you get from a year’s worth of normal background radiation.

Like with any form of testing, there is a risk of overdiagnosis. This means we find something that would not have caused a problem if it wasn’t found, but can lead to further (sometimes invasive) investigation and treatment (ie overtreatment). The best way to avoid this is working with highly experienced vets who are able to interpret findings in context.

What are the benefits of X-ray?

X-rays are readily available and can rapidly diagnose issues such as:

  • lung conditions (eg pneumonia, oedema, collapse, cancer)
  • heart conditions (eg heart failure)
  • fractures
  • bone infections, tumours
  • arthritis
  • bowel blockage
  • kidney and bladder stones.

What are the limitations of X-ray?

While X-rays can be good for looking at the bones of the back, they aren’t very useful for looking at the spinal cord. So even for severe back problems such as paralysis, we might not be able to see anything wrong on X-ray. If we need to look at the brain or spinal cord, other imaging is needed such as CT or MRI. These are available, but you need a referral to a specialist.

When can I expect the results of my pet’s X-rays?

Generally, results are available immediately, however a written report may take 24 hours. Some X-rays (eg hip scores) need to be sent to a third party for interpretation – this can take a few weeks.

 

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In-house laboratory


In-house laboratory

blood and other testing

In-house laboratory


In-house laboratory

blood and other testing

Blood testing

We can perform a range of blood tests at Elwood Vet, meaning we can get results within minutes of taking the sample.

What can we test for?

Routine in-house blood tests include:

  • haematology – this is analysis of the red and white blood cells and show up issues such as anaemia, infection and some cancers
  • biochemistry – this is the chemical analysis of the blood plasma and looks for problems with organs (eg liver, kidney, pancreas), with metabolism (eg diabetes) and for possible cancers
  • electrolytes – these are the ‘salts’ of the body
  • thyroid levels – older cats often develop an overactive thyroid, while some dogs have low thyroid levels
  • pancreatic lipase – this can help us diagnose pancreatitis (although we often use ultrasound instead)

We can also test for FIV infection in cats and perform blood typing in cats and dogs (for blood transfusions).

There are some tests that can only be done at a specialised laboratory. If your pet needs one of these, we send the sample via courier to the laboratory. When we get the results will depend on the test. For many, we get same or next day results but some tests can take a up to a month (eg DNA testing).

Is any preparation necessary?

In most cases we aim to get a fasting sample. This really just means that your pet skips breakfast on the day of the test. This isn't always necessary or even possible, and we consider things on a case by case basis.

What happens during a blood test?

This is usually a two-person job – one holds the pet in the right position and raises the vein, and the other person takes the blood.

To get the best sample, we usually take blood from the largest vein that we can access. For cats and small dogs, this is the jugular vein. For larger dogs, we might use the jugular or a leg vein. 

For pets with short hair and easily seen veins, we can often take blood without shaving the fur. For others, we clip a small square of fur away from over the vein.

If we only need a drop, like with glucose testing in diabetics, we'll sometimes use an ear vein. This is like a finger prick for pets.


Urine testing

By looking at urine we can assess:

  • how well the kidneys can concentrate the urine (this is the specific gravity)
  • the pH (acidity) of the urine
  • if there is any blood, glucose, ketones, protein, bilirubin
  • if there are signs of kidney injury such as casts
  • if bacteria and/or crystals are present

If we are concerned about a urinary tract infection, we will often send urine off to an external laboratory so they can grow the bacteria and see what antibiotics they respond to.


Faecal testing

In most cases, if we need to do faecal testing, we send samples to an external laboratory where special testing can be done.


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Surgery


Surgery

soft tissue, orthopaedic, emergency and dental

Surgery


Surgery

soft tissue, orthopaedic, emergency and dental

Simple and complex surgery

We are able to perform a wide range of surgical procedures in our purpose-built theatre.

Who does surgery at Elwood Vet?

All the vets do surgery at Elwood. However, Craig has a love of and extensive experience with complex surgeries, so he does most of the orthopaedic procedures and complicated soft tissue surgeries (eg open chest surgery and liver/gallbladder surgery).

We usually refer pets who need spinal surgery to a specialist.

Soft tissue surgery

This is essentially any surgery that doesn't involve bones. It includes:

  • spay (female desexing) 
  • castration (male desexing)
  • gastrointestinal foreign body removal
  • surgical biopsy
  • tumour removal
  • wound repair/stitch ups

Orthopaedic surgery

This is all surgery involving bones and joints. It includes:

  • fracture repairs (eg limb, pelvis, jaw)
  • cruciate surgery
  • patella surgery
  • elbow dysplasia surgery
  • hip dysplasia surgery
  • limb straightening 
  • amputations

Emergency surgery

Unlike most general practices, several of the vets at Elwood have many years of experience working in emergency centres and are happy to perform procedures such as bloat surgery and trauma surgery. 


Dental surgery

Dental surgery includes general cleaning and polishing as well as tooth extraction. While cleaning and polishing isn't really 'surgery', it comes under this heading because it's done under a general anaesthetic with full surgical monitoring.

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Hospitalisation


Hospitalisation

When your pet needs to stay with us

Hospitalisation


Hospitalisation

When your pet needs to stay with us

Being an inpatient

When redesigning the practice, we focused on making things comfortable, clean and safe for our patients. Our approach from front to back is on making the experience of our patients and people as positive as possible. 

Most vet practices have stainless steel cages, but these are noisy, reflective and can draw heat away from the patient. We've steered clear of these and had fibreglass cages custom-made for our  hospital ward. These give better comfort, are quieter and warmer – and are easy to keep clean.

For out cat patients, we have ventilated perspex doors. These allow us to observe the patients easily without having to disturb or stress them by opening the doors frequently and they reduce the risk of airborne infections spreading. We have both short stay (<24 h) and long stay (>24 h) sized cages. 

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Medication


Medication

prescription and over the counter

Medication


Medication

prescription and over the counter

Prescription medication

In most cases, when your pet needs a prescription medication (eg antibiotics, pain killers) we can dispense it from our in-house pharmacy. There will be times when medication needs to be specially ordered or from a veterinary compounding pharmacy (eg chemotherapy drugs, drugs not in general production). 

Repeat prescription request

We do offer repeat prescriptions for longer term treatments. To be eligible for this, your pet needs to be registered at Elwood Vet, have been seen by one of our vets within the past 6 months and have a valid prescription recorded in their medical notes.

You can either call us with a repeat prescription request or fill in the form below. Please allow at least 24 hours for medication to be dispensed. If medication needs to be special ordered, it may take several days for the prescription to be filled. So don't wait until you've run out!!

 

Your name *
Your name
Your pet's name *
Your pet's name
Use the name listed on your prescription (pets will often be listed under different last names)

Over the counter

To keep our reception area clean, calm and uncluttered we have chosen not to have lots of products on display.

We do stock a select range of over the counter medications including:

  • flea, worm, heartworm and tick products
  • probiotics
  • ear cleaners
  • medicated shampoos and conditioners
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Pet food


Pet food

nom, nom, nom

Pet food


Pet food

nom, nom, nom

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We don't take up space in our waiting room with bags of pet food!

But we do stock prescription diets made by Hills and Royal Canin. And we have a small selection of non-prescription foods.

We are happy to order food in for you. You can drop in, call us or use the form below.

Name *
Name
Describe the food (eg Hill's feline T/D biscuits small bag)
We'll send you a text or email when the food is in
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Acupuncture


Acupuncture


Acupuncture is now available at Elwood Vet

We're excited to have veterinary acupuncturist Dr Jennifer Robinson join the Elwood Vet team.

You know us, we're all about quality care. We’re not into providing products or services that don't have good scientific evidence of benefit. Holding to this standard can be hard sometimes – because not every condition or every treatment is looked at in high quality studies. This is particularly the case for complementary medicine... especially in animals.

Acupuncture is the standout here. There is good and growing evidence that it can help in a range of conditions, particularly those causing pain. 

When we met Jen, we knew she'd be an excellent fit for Elwood Vet. She's smart, practical and has the same focus on providing quality care. She isn't into up-selling (there will be no 'herbs') or over treating (if she doesn't think acupuncture is right for your pet, she'll tell you).

Jen trained as a vet in Hanover, Germany before moving to Melbourne (with her Australian husband). Here she completed a rigorous internship in surgery, medicine and oncology at SouthPaws specialty centre. So we know that Jen has an excellent understanding of the benefits of Western medicine and surgery. But, like us, she also understands the limitations. For example, how do we help the old pet with arthritis who can't (or won't) take medications?

Jen went looking for other effective therapies to help her patients. She found acupuncture (and got herself certified to practice through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Association). And then we found Jen. Perfect.

Jen is available for consultations/treatments at Elwood Vet on Tuesdays 10am – 3pm and Thursday evenings. To make an enquiry or booking call us on 9531 1771.