Parvovirus in Canberra and surrounds

Recently there have been multiple cases of canine Parvovirus reported by veterinarians in Canberra and it’s surrounds. Parvovirus is a highly contagious and potentially fatal virus that causes extreme vomiting and diarrhoea leading to dehydration, lethargy, septicemia and even death in severe cases.


This virus can be spread directly through contact with an infected dog or through faeces or indirectly through items like water bowls, collars and leashes or the hands or clothing of people that have touched an infected dog. Parvovirus can also remain active in infected soil for years, i.e. at ovals or dog parks where an infected dog has been.
Dogs less than 1 year of age are most at risk however older un-vaccinated dogs can also contract the disease.
Most dogs will recover with aggressive supportive treatment if started early. The main focus of treatment is intravenous fluids to replace lost fluids and re-balance electrolytes, pain relief to ensure the patient remains comfortable and medication to control vomiting and nausea. Patients may require treatment in hospital for many days before recovering.


The good news is that Parvo is a preventable virus and is covered in your dog’s normal C3/C5 vaccination. We recommend that puppies have 3 vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. They also require a booster vaccination at around 15 months of age and then a booster every 3 years for life.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind new puppy owners that your dog is not covered until 10 days after their second C3 vaccination and you should avoid taking your dog to public places like foot paths, dog parks and ovals until they have received all 3 vaccinations. If you are unsure of your puppy or adult dog’s vaccination status please give us a call on 6230 2223. If you notice decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea or lethargy in your pet please call your vet ASAP.

Patient Spotlight – Crookshanks the Cat

Warning: this blog post contains graphic surgical images 

Crookshanks is a lovely cat that came in to see us as she had been losing weight and her owners had noticed blood in her urine.  After running blood and urine tests we then performed an abdominal ultrasound. 

The ultrasound highlighted that Crookshanks had a stone in her ureter – the ureter is the tube through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder.  The diagram below shows the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

diagram source: Merck Vet Manual

When the ureter becomes blocked the kidney fills with urine and cannot empty.  This was also the cause of the blood Crookshanks’ owner noticed in her urine. 

On ultrasound a normal kidney is bean shaped, it has a light grey outer shell, and a darker middle area.  In the images below the kidney outline is circled in red. 

Here is an example of a normal ultrasound, the kidney is circled in red. Source: JSFM ultrasound of the feline kidney .

Below are ultrasound images of Crookshanks’ kidney.  Again, the outline of the kidney is highlighted in red.  The centre of the kidney is black, this is the urine that is building up because her ureter is blocked.  Her ureter is widened and full of urine.  The ureter is outlined in blue in this image.

Ultrasound image of Crookshanks’ Kidney and Ureter. Kidney is outlined in red and full of urine, the ureter is outlined in blue and is dilated, indicating blockage of flow through to the bladder.
The same image without outlines.

We followed the widened ureter down towards the bladder wih the ultrasound probe.  This is when we found the stones that were causing the blockage.  The ureter is outlined in blue, and there is a green arrow pointing towards the stones.

Crookshanks’ ureter is outlined in blue, the green arrow is pointing to the stone that was causing the blockage.

Crookshanks’ went into surgery with Dr Vickie Saye to have the stone removed.  The ureter is very tiny, only a few millimeters thick, so it was a very intricate and delicate surgery.  You can see in the photo below, the ureter is so small that you can only fit a very fine piece of suture material through it.  The photo was taken during Crookshanks’ surgery and the suture material was passed through the ureter to ensure that all stones had been removed and the ureter was blockage free.

The fine blue string like material is the suture material used to pass through the ureter and ensure there were no more stones blocking urine from travelling through to the bladder.

Two stones were removed from Crookshanks’ ureters.  They were very small only 1-2mm in size, amazing that something so small can cause such big problems.


Here are the two stones surgically removed from Crookshanks’ ureter. There were TINY, about 1mm in size.

Crookshanks required intensive care and monitoring after her surgery.  She was in hospital for several days. 

Crookshanks resting in hospital on intravenous fluids and pain relief in a nice cozy bed.

She is now much brighter and happier than she was before the surgery, as she is not in pain anymore.  She is even starting to put on weight.  She enjoys being able to join her sister McGonagall for walks on lead around the suburb. She will be on a special prescription diet for the rest of her life to help prevent the stones from reoccurring. 

Exercising the body and the brain, Crookshanks loves being well enough to join her sister for walks!

Casper, the kitty who didn’t learn his lesson..

Casper the confident kitty

Casper is a sweet, outgoing and confident 9 month old cat who loves to explore and play. Ever since he was a tiny kitten his family always thought he was more like a dog then a cat, his human brother and sister have even taught him to sit and wait for his meals just like a dog. Casper’s family live on a farm and he loves exploring through the paddocks.

Casper’s first non-routine visit with us was in November of 2018, after he refused to eat both breakfast and dinner (which was unusual for typically ravenous Casper) and then vomited too. On physical examination Dr Lesa found that he was painful when she palpated his abdomen, which hinted at the possibility of a foreign object in his tummy.

Casper was admitted to hospital to have an x-ray of his abdomen for further investigation.

Circled in red is a plug shaped radio-opaque foreign body

Another view of the plug shaped foreign body

As you can see above, Capser’s x-rays revealed a plug shaped foreign body in his abdomen. The safest thing to do for Casper was to perform an urgent exploratory laparotomy (ex-lap) to remove the foreign body. Dr Jenny performed his surgery the same day and removed a small green rubber plug-like object. Casper recovered well and returned home to his family the following day. The only mystery remaining, what on earth was the plug-like object that Capser ingested and where did he find it? His family searched and searched but couldn’t figure out where the object came from, they disposed of the object and life returned to normal.

Fast forward 2 months to the 30th of January. Casper began showing the same symptoms at home as he did back in November, vomiting and some loss of appetite. His owners, who are now well versed in the possible causes of vomiting and armed with the knowledge that he is known to eat things he shouldn’t, brought Casper back in for another check up.

Due to his history, Dr Gillian recommended that we repeat his abdominal x-rays.

Casper’s second lot of x-rays were almost an exact replica of his first, showing another plug-shaped object in his abdomen

You wouldn’t believe it but Casper’s new x-ray was almost an exact replica of the x-rays taken back in November.
Here are the two images side by side:

The whole Hall Vet Surgery team was shocked to see that it seemed that Casper had ingested something of the exact same shape, size and material as the first time.

Casper then underwent his second urgent surgery to remove a foreign body from his abdomen. Another successful surgery later and his owners were on a mission to find out where the mysterious objects were coming from.

Caspers whole family were out scouring the paddock from top to bottom to find any trace of the rubber plugs when they came across these..

They were toy bullets from Capser’s human brother’s Nerf Gun. It seems that Casper had been finding the bullets, chewing on the styrofoam section and accidentally ingesting the rubber plug from the end of the bullets.

We are thankful that Casper’s family has found the source of the foreign bodies and we now urge anyone with children and pets to be cautious of Nerf Bullets and the risks they pose to your animals if ingested. It is safe to say that Nerf Guns have been banned in Casper’s household!

Casper is back to his normal happy self thanks to his quick acting owners

If your pet loses their appetite, vomits or becomes lethargic it is always worth coming in for a check up. Casper’s quick acting owners may have just saved his life, twice!