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Aberfoyle Hub Veterinary Clinic
Hub Professional Centre
Aberfoyle Park, SA, 5159
Phone: 08 8270 5155

Barb’s Bits

It will soon be Valentine’s Day. I have never thought the day worth celebrating, except this year I will be having the longest and most significant Valentine’s Day of my life – it will actually last about 42 hours as I fly from Adelaide to Las Vegas. I have been fortunate enough to win a trip to America, to attend the amazing Western Veterinary Conference, and the time difference will see me arriving not long after I have departed. That’s a lot of time for chocolates and champagne - not so much fun when Ian is staying back in Adelaide though!

The trip won’t just be an excuse for eating and drinking, although I suspect there will be a bit of that. There will be some great continuing education opportunities, a Grand Canyon tour which will also challenge my Chinese comprehension skills, a chance to catch up with a dear friend for a few days, a Keith Urban concert, a touring Broadway musical… So much to look forward to, with a much more pleasant taste in the mouth and fewer cms on the hips than the chocolate!

Of course, in coming home I will lose almost a day, but what is time when I will be re-united with my family? THAT will be the day worth celebrating!



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Contents of this newsletter

01  Hub Vets news

02  Why heartworm prevention is so important

03  Recognising a broken heart

04  This study was EPIC!

05  Jodie's Wall

06  A healthy mouth equals a healthy heart

07  If cats sent Valentine's Day cards

08  Tiger Lily, Pet Focus of the Month

01 Hub Vets news
Naomi and Celeste 1

Celeste and Naomi, two new staff members

We are excited to introduce you to two new staff members to our team.

Celeste McMillan is our new part-time Practice Manager. She is a qualified Cert IV nurse, has been in practice management, and has also been extensively involved with Hills Pet Nutrition. You may only see Celeste from time to time when she is helping front of house, but you will see her impact - her skills are a wonderful complement to our existing team and will greatly benefit you and your pets.

Naomi Wigzell is our new full-time Cert IV nurse. She has had extensive experience with horses at Scone and the Adelaide University Equine Veterinary Hospital at Roseworthy, and is now extending her knowledge into small animals. Naomi is already proving herself popular with staff and clients alike, and we know that you will love her bright personality and genuine concern for both animals and people.

Welcome, guys!

02 Why heartworm prevention is so important

How many pesky mosquitoes have you seen this summer? Here's some food for thought: wherever there are mosquitoes, there is the risk of heartworm disease for your pet!

Heartworm is a dangerous worm, and when an infected mosquito feeds on your pet's blood, the heartworm larvae enter the bloodstream. The scary part is that these larvae mature into worms that can reach up to 30cm in length.

The worms mature in the bloodstream and eventually become lodged in your pet's heart leading to heart failure. It is at this point that the disease can be fatal. Dogs are more commonly affected by heartworm disease but cats may also be at risk.

The prevalence of heartworm in Australia has been mainly in tropical and subtropical coastal regions but in recent decades it has become increasingly prevalent in more southern areas.

The take-home point is that with changing weather patterns and subsequent alterations in the distribution of mosquito populations, heartworm disease can be unpredictable. This is why prevention is SO important as we just don't know where it might strike next.

Prevention of heartworm is far better than an attempt at a cure but it's important to realise that not all heartworm prevention is the same so it's best to ask us what is the best prevention for your pet.

Most importantly, you need to be aware that many of the intestinal 'all-wormer' tablets do not prevent against heartworm infection.

There are topical treatments, oral treatments and a yearly injection for dogs. Ask us for the most suitable prevention for your pet - we will make sure your pet is suitably protected.

03 Recognising a broken heart

We're not talking about a broken heart from lost love here but instead heart disease.

Most of the signs of heart disease are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The signs can be subtle and sometimes hard to detect. Being able to recognise some of the early signs of this disease can make a big difference for your pet. It means we can initiate medical treatment and in most cases, ease the workload on the heart, meaning your pet will live a longer and healthier life.

Look out for these signs:

+ Coughing, especially at night

+ A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks

+ Laboured or fast breathing

+ Weakness or fainting associated with exercise

+ An enlarged abdomen

+ Weight loss or poor appetite

This example of why at least an annual check-up with us is important. We will always listen to your pet's heart as part of any physical exam and this allows us to detect any changes early. Sometimes we will hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). These may be reason for us to perform more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound and an ECG.

There are some excellent medications available to help a pet suffering from heart disease and the good news is that these can help your pet live a longer and near normal life.

If you are ever worried about your pet's health, you should call us for advice. 

04 This study was EPIC!

Recent groundbreaking research into canine heart disease is changing the way we treat one of the most common heart conditions.

It is estimated that one dog in ten may suffer from some type of heart disease and there it's a particular type of heart disease called mitral valve disease that can lead to congestive heart failure, reduced quality of life and an overall shortened lifespan.

The EPIC (Evaluation of Pimobendan In dogs with Cardiomegaly) Study was the largest veterinary cardiology study in history. This groundbreaking study set out to answer a key question: Can a particular drug (pimobendan) delay the onset of congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs with mitral valve disease?

The study, which began in 2010 and ran through to 2015, included investigators at 36 study centres in 11 nations across 4 continents. Investigators were held to rigorous scientific standards, and an independent team compiled and reported the findings.

The results concluded that dogs who received pimobendan experienced a 15-month delay in onset of clinical signs of CHF, cardiac-related death, or euthanasia. Some have described these results as 'epic' (pardon the pun!)

And the best news is that with x-rays and an ultrasound of the heart, along with the guidelines from the results of this study, we are now able to determine which of our patients with mitral valve disease will benefit from medication and which can be placed on a monitoring program. This means we can help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

If you have any questions about the management of heart disease or anything to do with your pet's health, we are always here to help.

05 Jodie's Wall
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Bey Shah

This month on Jodie’s Wall we are displaying Barb’s painting of Bey Shah, a famous Arabian stud horse that she painted from an unidentified postcard as a gift for Ian circa 1997. Barb started painting in her 30’s, then had a 20 year hiatus while building up Aberfoyle Hub Vet Clinic. Now that her hours have reduced, she has taken up painting again. Barb paints mostly in oils – she loves the richness, warmth and subtlety of the pigments, and the fact the paint stays wet a long time!

All of our clients are invited to display their art on Jodie’s Wall. There is no judgement about quality, but the art does have to promote positive and life-affirming themes. Please contact us at for details.



06 A healthy mouth equals a healthy heart

Did you know that if your pet is suffering from dental disease they may be at risk of heart disease too?

When dental disease strikes, plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth lead to infection of the gums. Bacteria from this infection travel in the bloodstream around the body and can cause infection in the heart. This commonly occurs in the heart's lining and valves and is known as endocarditis. 

And it's not only the heart that is affected; the kidneys, liver and lungs can all be damaged by the bacteria.

Thankfully many of these problems can be reversed if dental disease is treated and the health of your pet's mouth is improved. 

Top tips for the prevention of dental disease

1. Lift your pet's lip and have a look and a smell. If you notice any yellowing of the teeth or redness of the gums OR your pet's breath smells a bit 'off', it is time for a checkup with us.

2. Regardless of whether you think something's not quite right, get your pet's mouth checked regularly by us. The earlier we spot an issue the better the outcome. Dental checkups at least once a year should be non-negotiable. 

3. Get your pet eating the right diet. It's essential that our pets chew their food! There are some excellent dental diets available and they work really well so ask us for the best recommendation.

4. Brush your pet's teeth. This is considered gold standard but just make sure you use a pet-approved toothpaste.

Don't be tempted by offers of 'anaesthesia free dentistry." This somewhat 'shonky' form of teeth cleaning is simply cosmetic and it fails to address the root of the problem (removing the plaque and tartar and subsequent bacteria from under the gum-line). You can read more information about this here.

We recommend a dental check-up at least once a year. Call us to book your pet in for a dental check-up today as you might be improving the health of their heart too. 

07 If cats sent Valentine's Day cards

It's Valentine's Day this month and while it may not be everyone's cup of tea, we think this take on the whole event is pretty funny. If you click here you'll find '14 Valentine's Day cards you could only get from a cat.'

And we definitely DO NOT recommend giving your cat any of the favourite toys from card #14! They are all potentially dangerous if ingested by your cat!

08 Tiger Lily, Pet Focus of the Month
Tiger Lily pet pack 1

Tiger Lily at attention!

Tiger Lily is a gorgeous 7 year old pussy cat, who developed kidney problems several years ago. Kidney disease in cats is very common as they get older, but Tiger Lily was only 5 when she was diagnosed, which suggests she may have been born with an underlying susceptibility. There are several different types of kidney disease, and Tiger Lily’s particular condition was causing leaking of protein from the kidneys.

Kidney disease is a progressive condition. Tiger Lily started on a prescription renal diet to preserve her remaining kidney function for as long as possible, as well as medication to help the kidneys work better. Recently, there have been advances in veterinary knowledge and new medication has been released that specifically targets protein-losing kidney disease. We are delighted that Tiger Lily is our first patient to use it and to able to benefit from that advance in veterinary knowledge.

Keep it up, Tiger Lily!