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Keeping your pets safe over the festive season

Friday, December 01, 2017


Image: Heath Cajandig, Flickr


Providing them somewhere safe to retreat to, playing some music or TV to provide background noise (not too loudly), draw the curtains/blinds and most importantly seek veterinary attention or advise beforehand if your pet is nervous or has displayed anxiety towards fireworks or loud noises. Prevention of stress is much easier than treating the symptoms.


Make sure that food is not left unattended at BBQ functions. Pets can become very unwell if they gain access to leftovers or rubbish bags containing leftovers.

Don’t leave food on the front edge of the bench or on low tables. We’ve seen dogs grab fully wrapped turkeys, eat all the turkey meat and the plastic wrap! In these cases, the wrapping is as big a concern as anything else.

Festive food treats are not necessarily treats for pets. Ham is very salty and fatty, chocolate is toxic and like with us, too much of anything is not good.
Don’t give your pet the left-over bones from the roast as cooked bones fracture and can block the intestinal tract.

Gifts and the Christmas tree

Choose safe gifts for your pets.

Be careful with placing Christmas decorations at “pet height”. We know they are inedible, but a surprising number of pets don’t.

Don’t leave food gifts under the tree. We can’t see what they are, but animals don’t need to see to smell what is inside.

Leaving your pets home alone

IF you are spending Christmas day away from home, make sure your pets are in a secure place with plenty of shelter and water. Be sure water bowls can’t be accidentally knocked over.


Never leave your pets in your car, even on a mild day.

When planning to walk your dog, be sure the footpath is not too hot for their paws. You should be able to leave your hand on the concrete for 5 seconds without any discomfort. If you feel discomfort, the path is too hot.

Protect your pets from heat stress and avoid long walks or extensive playing, even on mild days, especially if your dog is not used to it. Ensure your pets always have access to water and if you can, bring them inside on hot days.


Be sure your gates and doors are secured to ensure your pets aren’t accidentally let out by your guests.

Keep your dog on a lead around waterways and bushy over-growth to protect them from snakes.

Most importantly – if in doubt, call us for advice. We’re always happy to help any time, day or night.


U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital and Werribee campus redevelopment

Monday, October 16, 2017

A $63 million redevelopment will enhance facilities for pet treatment and training for future veterinarians at the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital and Werribee campus.

Learn More >

Snakebite map for pets launched

Thursday, August 31, 2017

As the weather warms up, veterinarians are preparing for snakebite season with an interactive map to record when and where pets are bitten. The SnakeMap Project aims to better predict, prevent, diagnose and treat snakebite in animals as well as people.

The SnakeMap Project is the first of its kind in Australia and was devised by emergency and critical care veterinarians Dr Manu Boller and Dr Kylie Kelers from the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital.

Dr Boller teamed up with UVet Animal Hospital snakebite expert Dr Kylie Kelers, along with veterinary emergency and critical care experts from across Australia, epidemiologists and human snakebite experts.

The secure, electronic research database was established to allow veterinary hospitals across Australia to enter their snakebite data. The data can then be used as a medical resource for vets and, in the future, as a snakebite forecasting system for pet owners and the public anywhere in Australia.

Data collected in the SnakeMap includes information on the bitten animal, the location and time of the snakebite - including exact coordinates of the bite if known, the treatment provided, including antivenom administration and breathing support, and the outcome of the treatment.

Media Coverage

Channel 9 news: http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/08/29/18/22/snake-maps-to-pinpoint-danger-areas-for-australian-pets?ocid=Social-9News

Emergency vet instructs: Learn to perform CPR on a dog in 5 minutes

Thursday, August 24, 2017

If a dog collapses and stops breathing it is most likely in cardiopulmonary arrest and every second counts. In this short video, Dr Erica Tinson, senior resident in veterinary emergency and critical care at the U-Vet Animal Hospital in Werribee provides instructions to pet owners on how to respond. In under 5 minutes, Dr Tinson explains how to recognize cardiopulmonary arrest and how to perform CPR in a dog following the newest pet CPR guidelines.

Could your dog have osteoarthritis?

Monday, August 07, 2017

Could your dog possibly have osteoarthritis? Your pet maybe able to participate in a free trial run by the Pain Management and Rehabilitation Clinic at the U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital in Werribee.

Pets need to be over 6 months of age and will need to have a blood sample taken, have a radiographic examination and wear an activity collar for the duration of the trial. Pets will need to be taken to U-Vet in Werribee for an initial consultation and on 3 other occasions over a four-week period.


To enquire about the trial, please contact U-Vet on (03) 9731 2000

Media Coverage

9 News: Osteoarthritis is affecting our beloved dogs

The Melbourne Newsroom: New pain management study for dogs


New canine parvovirus in Australia. But don’t panic!

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Researchers in Adelaide have recently reported the detection of a new type of canine parvovirus. Although this virus is new to Australia, it has been present in many overseas countries since 2000, and is very closely related to parvoviruses that have been present in Australia for the past 40 years.

Experience from other countries that have this particular virus, as well as specific scientific studies, have shown that the current vaccines we use are effective in providing protection against this new type. Similarly, although concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of tests used to detect infection, studies have shown these too are effective for the new type.

So what do you need to do? If your dog is up-to-date with its vaccinations – nothing! Take your dog for a walk and enjoy Autumn. 

However if your dog is unvaccinated, now is the time to schedule an appointment, as canine parvovirus, the old types and the new, can cause serious, and in many cases, fatal disease.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on (03) 9731 2000.


Easter Pet Safety Tips - Chocolate

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why is it a problem if my pet eats chocolate?

There are two chemicals in chocolate that are harmful to cats and dogs: theobromine and caffeine. The darker the chocolate, the greater the level of these chemicals and the less your pet needs to eat to cause a problem. Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs but dogs are more likely to scavenge and therefore suffer from chocolate toxicity. If enough chocolate is ingested it can be fatal.

What are the signs of chocolate toxicity?

Initially your pet may appear restless, start vomiting and/or have diarrhoea and show an increase in thirst and urination.

If not treated, the symptoms progress to their heart and breathing rates increase. They may appear shaky and unstable on their legs, have seizures and become unconscious.

What should I do if I think my pet has eaten chocolate?

If you think your pet has eaten chocolate or is showing any of the above symptoms call your vet immediately.

We are open 24/7 over the Easter period and we will be able to advise if your pet should be seen.

It helps us to have as much information as possible in order to assess what, if any, treatment your pet will need.

The questions we will ask include:

  • How much chocolate your pet has/may have eaten?
  • What time your pet ate the chocolate or had access to it?
  • What kind of chocolate your pet ate?
  • What is the weight of your pet?
Tips to protect your pet from chocolate toxicity:
  • If you’re having Easter egg hunts, keep dogs shut away in a completely different area of the property from where the egg hunt is held. Keep them away until the hunt is over.
  • Keep count of how many eggs are hidden and account for them at the end to make sure they have all been found.
  • Ensure family members aren’t leaving chocolate around the house or dropping chocolate on the floor.
  • Make sure all chocolate is shut away not left accessible around the house. Dogs can be very agile at getting into things that you think are out of their reach.
If your pet has eaten chocolate or you suspect they have or your pet shows symptoms, call us immediately. Most importantly – if in doubt call us for advice! We are always happy to help any time, day or night.

U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital’s Emergency & Critical Care service is ALWAYS OPEN.

Contact us on 03 9731 2000


Geelong Animal Emergency Centre Update

Thursday, March 23, 2017

U-Vet Geelong Animal Emergency Centre Update

The University of Melbourne has decided to discontinue its operation of the U-Vet Geelong Animal Emergency Centre and has worked with local veterinary clinics to identify an alternative provider to continue this important service to the Geelong community.

U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital, the University’s 24-hour veterinary hospital serving Melbourne’s western suburbs and the surrounding area, will continue to operate as usual and will not be impacted by these changes.

From 6:00pm on 30 March, Advanced Vetcare will provide out-of-hours emergency services in Geelong. Trading hours will remain as outlined below:

Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 6:00pm-9:00am. Weekends and public holidays: 24 hours.
Address: 102 Fyans Street, Geelong.
Phone: (03) 5222 2139 during opening hours.

Clients from U-Vet Geelong Animal Emergency Centre will be able to access their pet’s medical records from U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital on request.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on (03) 9731 2000.

Heat Stroke Safety Tips

Monday, March 13, 2017

It is important for pet owners to be aware that heat can cause heat stroke and be disastrous and fatal for pets. On hot summer days we receive a number of animals presented with heat stroke and near death. Heat stroke is a dire emergency and one from which many do not recover.

Here are some tips to keep your beloved pets safe during the warmer weather.
  • Never leave your pet in the car on a hot day, even with windows down and in the shade, not even for a minute. It may take only 10 minutes for a pet left in a car to die.
  • On hot days be mindful of pets outside, or enclosures unable to escape the heat, for example dogs in runs, and rabbit in hutches.
  • On extreme heat days bring pets indoors. If this is not possible make sure they have plenty of shade, fresh clean water and some iceblocks to lick as a minimum. For pocket pets, you can freeze there sipper bottles so nice cold water comes out. Even an icepack in their cage!
  • Keep pets hydrated.
Other factors that increase pets’ risk of developing heat stroke are being in an enclosed space, humid conditions, overweight pets, exercising pets in the heat, age of the pet, pre existing heart or lung disease, or if the pet is taken on holidays to a climate they are not used to.

Why does heat stroke occur?
Living cells of the body have temperature tolerant limits. Go beyond these limits and the cells break down. The longer the cell is above the 45 degree level, the faster cell death occurs, and the less likely the pet will recover. In fur-covered animals, they have few sweat glands, and their main way of cooling off is by panting.

What are the signs of heat stroke?
Signs of heat stroke are intense rapid panting, pounding heart, wide eyes, salivating, brick red gums, staggering, and weakness. They can then collapse, become unconscious, then gums then go pale and dry.

What do you need to do?
If you think your pet has heat stroke it is an emergency. For first aid, make sure the pet is put in a cold area or shade. Start soaking the body with cool water. Make sure that the water soaks to the skin and doesn’t just run off the fur. Don’t’ use cold or icy water, otherwise the superficial vessels at the skin constrict and the hot blood is trapped within the body, so the body stays hot still! Always seek Veterinary attention immediately!

Fore more information, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/dog-health/heat-and-pets


Your cat could save lives!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Just like humans, pets can suffer from life-threatening illness such as anaemia, toxicity, trauma or severe injury that could result in them needing a life-saving blood transfusion. The challenge with cats' blood is that it can't be stored like human or dog blood, that's why we are seeking cats who live locally to sign up to be donors.

What will be required? Owners must understand that they may receive a phone call at any time asking for emergency blood donation from their cat. It's therefore preferable that donor cats live locally (within 20 minutes away from U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital).

Testing and blood compatibility.
Firstly we must take a blood sample to check blood type compatibility with the cat who requires transfusion. Due to the complexity of cats' blood, compatibility is critical. If your cat's blood is compatible we then run blood tests including haematology, biochemistry, FIV testing as well as a complete health check - this is all performed at no cost to you.

What is the process?
Most cats are sedated by our Anaethesia team before donating, so please don't feed them prior if you can although we understand this isn't always possible. We collect the blood from your cat's jugular vein in their neck and we generally collect no more than 40-50ml of blood. After donating, your cat will be placed on an IV drip and monitored closely through recovery, then fed and cuddled when they wake.

Our way of saying thank you!
To show our appreciation, your cat will be smothered with lots of hugs, love and support and sent home with a large bag of food* as a massive thank you for choosing to donate and helping save the lives of critically ill cat patients in need!


We are hoping to build a list of owners and willing cats who are happy to be called (potentially late at night!) to help any cats in desperate need of a blood transfusion.

Please see our Feline Blood Donor Checklist to see if your cat is suitable to be place on our database.

Feline Blood Donor Checklist:

  • Fully vaccinated (up-to-date vaccination certificate)
  • Be fit and healthy (preferably indoor lifestyle)
  • Weigh over 4kg and non-obese
  • Aged 1-8 years old
  • Have a calm temperament

If you are interested in having your cat on the Feline Blood Donor Database please provide us with your best contact details and the name, age, vaccination status of your cat. You can contact the Blood Donor Program directly on 03-9731-2328 or UOM-Blood-Donor-Program@unimelb.edu.au.

* Products, brands etc will vary.