Here at TCV we understand that coming to the vets can be stressful for our feline patients. That’s why we have a designated cat-only waiting area, consult room, and separate hospitalisation facilities, away from those barking dogs. Our cat room is also equipped with a feline blood pressure monitor for stress-free B.P measurement in our older patients.
Our up to the minute digital x-ray machine allows us to obtain very high quality images within seconds, whether your pet has broken a bone, or swallowed something he shouldn’t have.
We also have an ultrasound machine which can provide valuable information about the state of the abdominal organs, and can be used to diagnose pregnancy.
We are able to offer a full range of soft-tissue surgery, from routine desexings, to advanced surgical procedures. Our clinical director, Dr Merridie, has a particular interest in soft-tissue surgery and frequently puts her skills to good use.
We are also able to offer advanced orthopaedic surgery by a visiting surgeon when required.
Our clinic laboratory is very well equipped with the latest technology in blood and urine testing. This enables us to perform in-house diagnostics with a very rapid turn-around time. Services include:
- Pre-anaesthetic blood test – we recommend a blood test for all surgical patients over the age of 7 years. This allows us to uncover any pre-existing organ dysfunction that may not be clinically apparent, and then make allowances for that in our anaesthetic planning.
- Wellness screening – an annual blood test in our more senior patients is an excellent way of monitoring health, and picking up any changes early. It also provides us with baseline values for your pet, so we have something to compare to when they get sick.
- Sick pet testing – our comprehensive blood test yields detained results within 30 minutes, allowing us to get to the bottom of your pet’s illness quickly.
You may think the idea of someone putting needles into your pet is a strange one. Or perhaps you think your pet would not even stand still to tolerate it!
But Dr Brigid uses such fine needles that they are virtually painless and usually extremely well tolerated. Many pets – both dogs and cats – become relaxed or sleepy during a treatment. Dogs will also enjoy the attention and complementary liver treats.
There are many situations in which acupuncture can actually be extremely beneficial in pets.
CORE VACCINATIONS (These make up an F3 vaccination)
This virus has also been called ‘cat parvo’ in the media. Similarly to parvo in dogs, it causes bloody vomitting and diarrhoea in cats. It also wipes out the cats immune system. Fortunately we see it rarely as it is preventable simply by vaccinating your pet.
Calicivirus and herpesvirus together form what is known as cat flu. The symptoms are usually a discharge from the eye and nose. They can also cause fevers and make a cat inappetant. The biggest problem however is that once a cat is infected they are often infected for life. The flue like symptoms come and go, depending on how run-down your cat’s immune system is. They can continue to be a source of infection for other cats in the household as well. We recommend vaccinating cats that are infected as it can frequently decrease the symptoms and severity of the flue outbreaks.
Herpesvirus also causes cat flu, but unlike calicivirus, it can also cause ulcers in the eye and the mouth which can be hard to treat and difficult to resolve.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
FIV is transmitted through fighting and mating. Desexing will prevent the latter, but vaccination is still recommended when cats roam outdoors and have the potential to get into fights. The primary course is 3 injections 4 weeks apart, followed by annual boosters.
At Tweed Coast Vet, Cabarita, we have tried to keep things simple for you. We keep up-to-date with the latest research and guidelines released by the Australian Veterinary Association, so that you don’t have to. This page explains about preventable diseases in DOGS. For information on cats, please check out the CAT VACCINATION page. We have also provided a recommended Puppy and Kitten Vaccination Protocol with our usual recommendations. Please note these may change according to your personal circumstance.
In-line with the current Australian Veterinary Association guidelines we offer an annual KC vaccination and a triennial C3 vaccination, which combined form the same as the old C5 vaccinations. This is the minimum requirement for entering boarding kennels. This vaccination combination will cover parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and bordatella. Our area is particularly prone to kennel cough
Parvovirus is a disease you hear about in the media a lot. It is frequently fatal, and when it is not fatal it is painful, long and drawn out. It is a virus that attacks rapidly growing cells in the dog’s body – including the bone marrow, and the lining of the stomach and intestines -which causes bloody diarrhoea and vomiting. This results in a very sick, weak, anaemic animal with no immune system left to try and battle the virus. Because it is a virus, it does not respond very well to antibiotics, and for the most part all vets can do is provide supportive care until the patient starts to respond themselves.
The vaccination is very good – once you have a fully vaccinated dog the vaccination can be given every 3 years, but it does take several treatments to be fully effective in young puppies. (See our Puppy and Kitten Vaccination Schedule Page for more info). The disease is usually found in areas where there is a low level of vaccination in the community. Fortunately on the Tweed Coast we have a reasonable rate of vaccination, but we still see parvo frequently enough that we strongly recommend vaccination in all puppies and adult dogs.
Adenovirus (hepatitis) is an inflammation of the liver, which can be fatal We frequently see hepatitis in dogs, but the number of these cases that is caused by adenovirus is unknown. It is a disease that can cause sudden death in young animals, and cause permanent scarring and damage to the liver in older animals, who will then go on to shed the disease in their urine and faeces. Infected animals are often feverish, “sick” painful and vomit.
Distemper virus is extremely rare in our region. It used to be very common – a disease that caused a neurological symptoms such as twitching, paralysis, and seizures, along with eye and nasal discharges. It often was fatal. Fortunately, routine vaccinations have made this disease extremely rare, although it has not quite been eradicated yet.
Bordatella Bronchiseptica and Parainfluenza virus
Although Kennel Cough (caused by bordatella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza) is not a part of the core vaccination, it is the minimum requirement to place your dog in a kennel. The KC vaccination is like the flu vaccination in people – it needs to be given every year to provide protection
In the Tweed Coastal region in particular, we see a lot of kennel cough, even in dogs that don’t leave their yards. As kennel cough is airborne, and can be spread much like the common cold in humans, we assume this is from dogs in close proximity to your fence, or yard, or drinking from your water bowl out the front (if you have one). Kennel cough is rarely fatal. Usually it is merely annoying, keeping both the owner and the pet up all night for weeks on end. It causes a deep, hacking cough, that sometimes results in vomiting a small amount of clear fluid. It doesn’t respond well to treatment and sometimes can take several weeks to resolve.
Merridie moved to Cabarita Beach 20 years ago to spend more time with her children and start her own practice. What started out as a solo venture has blossomed into the Tweed Coast Vet we know and love.
Merridie enjoys the challenge of both being a vet and managing the practice. She has always loved doing surgery and keeping up to date with the latest surgical techniques. Her latest project is a continuing education course in cat medicine.
Outside of work, Merridie is a very active member of the community. She enjoys walking on the beach with Fang, spending time with her family and trying to diet her two fat cats, Willy and Wonky.
Rachael started at the Tweed Coast Vet shortly after graduating from the University of Queensland and we have been lucky to have her ever since!
Rachael has a keen interest in dentistry and takes pride in ensuring the pets of Cabarita have lovely smiles to share around. She has been the driving force in new dental techniques and is the reason our clinic is equipped with the absolute latest in dental equipment and digital dental X-ray machines.
When not at work, Rachael enjoys spending time with her family including her dog, Alice, and her cat, Oskar.
Dr Emma joined us in 2013 when she moved from Melbourne to be nearer her family in the Tweed Valley.
Emma is enthusiastic about all aspects of veterinary science and loves to help people with their pets. She genuinely cares about making sure your animal is as healthy as possible and loves getting to the bottom of tricky medical cases.
Away from work, Emma’s gorgeous daughter Willow keeps her on her toes. She is also kept busy with her mischievous Labrador, Fudge, her cat Cam, her giant rabbit Pancake and a myriad of alpacas.
Dr Anna comes to us with a global outlook on veterinary science. Anna was trained in the UK, and graduated from Bristol University in 2009.
She moved to Australia in 2013, and spent several years locuming around the country. During this time she has had the opportunity to learn and train under a wide variety of people, learning a variety of different techniques and skills.
While Dr Anna enjoys all aspects of veterinary work, she has a particular interest in Internal Medicine and making sick pets well again. She makes a valuable addition to our team!
Dr Brigid has worked with the team at Tweed Coast Vet for a number of years. Her special interest is in holistic medicine, combining acupuncture, Chinese herbs and complementary medicine with a strong background of mainstream veterinary medicine. This is a fantastic option for some patients – particularly for pain management, mobility, incontinence and certain behavioural conditions. If you are interested in exploring alternative options, why not book an appointment with Dr Brigid and have a chat.
Brigid has a love for rescue animals. As far as listing her pets at home, , Brigid has a too many furry friends to mention them all here – everything from cats to cows!
Dr Merridie’s daughter, Dr Sara is still seen around the clinic from time to time. She mainly works in Brisbane, but comes down regularly to help Dr Merridie with managing the practice, and helping with administrative work.
On the veterinary side, Dr Sara has a special interest in ultrasonography and will often come down to perform ultrasounds when required, enjoying the change of pace and the sea-side air.
Secretly though, the real reason Dr Sara comes down to visit is that she misses Fang. Fang is the golden labradoodle who thinks she runs the clinic, and hasn’t yet realised that she is a dog. We’ve created a staff page specially for her as the Chief Treat Taster,
Kerstin completed her veterinary nurse qualifications in her native Germany.
After moving to Australia she worked for several veterinary clinics for a couple of years before finally joining the Tweed Coast Vet team – over 16 years ago!
This makes her the longest serving support staff member on the team!
You will mainly find her in reception, though her infectious bubbly giggle can be heard throughout the entire clinic. Since her children have left home, Kerstin has taken up a more adventurous, nomadic lifestyle. She and her husband Frank, now take regular short trips in their camper-van, enjoying the freedom to explore!
Daen is our wildlife warrior and in her spare time rescues, treats and rehabilitates flying foxes as a part of the Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers.
Daen enjoys working in our team at Tweed Coast Vet because she loves to interact and care for so many wonderful animals.
At home Daen has her own band of animals – Dogs Tiger the Staffy and Rusty the Koolie, Roasty and Bearnie the Roosters, Peach and Marley the Rats and Tim Tam the Spotted Python.
When she has time to relax she is spending time with her family and sitting down with a good book.
Rhonda brings a broad range of experience to Tweed Coast Vet, including her most recent role at PetPlan in the UK.
Before her twin boys started school, Rhonda made the huge choice to leave the UK. Moving to the Northern Rivers with her young family, she’s joined Tweed Coast Vet to continue her lifelong love affair for animals in her workplace.
Varley’s dream has always been to work with animals – particularly in helping to keep them healthy and well. She loves being involved in surgeries out the back, but more often than not you’ll find her out the front, having a chat and checking up on how your pets have been going.
She absolutely loves working with animals and people, and we love working with her.
When Cath joined us we found ourselves with someone with a broad range of experience from many different parts of the veterinary industry. In particular, Cath has focussed on surgical and anaesthetic nursing. With Cath on the team you can feel confident your pet is in safe hands.
Cath says the best part about her job though is the time she gets to spend cuddling and reassuring our patients – making sure they are as comfortable as possible.
When not at work, Cath loves spending time at the beach with her Golden Retriever, Chloe.
Ray has a passion for animals and in particular enjoys animal husbandry and the surgical aspects of working in a clinic. Ray adores animals and will never give up an opportunity to give extra love and attention to the patients. When not getting all those cuddles at work, Ray loves being out in nature and is a bit of an adventurer. She loves to run along the beach with Benji (her gorgeous Maltese X), skating and hanging out with friends and family.
Top Secret: Ray’s full name is actual Rachel, but given we already had a Rachael in the clinic she has kindly given us permission to create a nickname for her!
Fang is really the main person you need to know in the vet surgery. That’s right, although she looks a lot like a labradoodle, she is convinced she is actually a person.
She is not always present as she has a busy schedule, including several days a week at Dog Safari. When she is in the clinic however, she is often far too busy supervising the treat jar to always be on show, but late afternoons she enjoys coming out to the reception area to remind us that it is time for her treat and afternoon walk.
Born in 2007, Fang was destined to be a star. She has starred in many on stage performances. Locals will recall her in Neptune Theatre Company’s productions taking on roles such as Caramel the Camel in South Pacific, Sandy the dog in Annie, another camel in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat, and even a Salvation Army Officer in Guys and Dolls.
There have been a few other Cameo performances, where Fang has appeared just as herself due to popular demand.
Fang enjoys long walks on the beach (but things getting caught in the rain is a terrible thing). She will lie on her back and splay her legs in the most un-ladylike manner when she feels she is not getting enough attention, and stand on the scales to prove she has not eaten too many treats today (‘so can I please have another one now?’)
Fang initially came to this surgery as a puppy to be de-sexed and have corrective surgery on her eye-lids (which rolled in and were causing problems.) Dr Merridie did an excellent job of the surgery, but in the course of smooching the puppy after surgery discovered the pup had wrapped its furry little legs around her neck in a puppy hug and would not let go. Dr Merridie fell in love with the puppy, and knowing it was looking for a new owner, didn’t send the puppy home.
Fang is so named because as that tiny mass of curly puppy soon proved, she had a very placid personality. She imitated a bath mat perfectly, and loved nothing more than sleeping while in someone’s arms. Dr Sara felt that “Fang” might inspire some spunk or attitude into her, and give her a name to grow into. Despite many protests, “Fang” has stuck, although dismally failing to inspire Fang to anything like her namesake, she has proved a beautiful irony.
We love her to bits, and couldn’t be prouder. Come in one afternoon and meet Fang, guardian of the Vet Surgery, and Chief Treat Taster. Or check her out on her Facebook page, Fangspage.
Jasper is a beautiful, fluffy, white, 3-legged male cat of uncertain age, with 2 different coloured eyes, one part of an ear missing and a little bit of a tragic past. Since coming to us, he has earned the title “Chief Inefficiency Officer”, due to his endearing habit of ensuring that no other staff member can use a computer unaccosted.
Jasper came to us as a stray through Friends of the Pound. He had been hit by a car and had a complicated break to one of his front legs. The experience seemed to have traumatised Jasper a little, as he was initially reluctant to come out of the box we had provided for him to hide in.
Once Jasper had his damaged leg amputated, he improved markedly. Because he was having an extended stay with us, we took to leaving his cage door open so that he could explore the whole room if he chose. He didn’t choose. While he loved being patted and was not scared of people in any way, he was not interested in leaving his safe place.
For weeks he stayed in his cage, but one day we found that he had moved from the cage into the closet next to it. As it was a blanket cupboard, we allowed him to make his bed on the big soft blanket he had chosen, emerging only to toilet, eat and drink. He loved being patted but would not leave his man-cave, instead insisting (in typical cat fashion) that we come to him for smooches.
This continued for months, and eventually he became a fixture. We did not end up sending him back to Friends of the Pound. Everyone had come to enjoy their morning cuddle with the strange ball of white fluff that seemed to prefer the life of a hermit.
Eventually Jasper’s bed was moved to the staff room, and these days Jasper has expanded his range to both the staff room AND the office. Jasper spends his time sitting on either the staff’s laps, or their keyboards. He loves people and has no fear of any one. He doesn’t seem to have any desire for daylight either, but we try not to judge him for that!