Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at Tweed Coast Vet



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.

Pain management is probably the best known reason for acupuncture. In acute injuries such as strains and sprains or muscle spasm there is often a good improvement even after one treatment. More chronic problems such as arthritis and spinal problems need more regular treatments. Depending on the situation, acupuncture can be used alone in these cases or combined with herbs or Western medications.
Gastrointestinal problems such as recurring diarrhoea or constipation also respond well to acupuncture and/or herbs.
Urinary problems such as recurring infections or incontinence often respond rapidly to acupuncture. Incontinence can be seen in elderly animals, but can also in younger animals as in the case of some speyed bitches. A course of acupuncture can stop this type of incontinence, which otherwise may need a lifetime of medication.
Chinese medicine can be especially useful in older animals with a number of concurrent problems. Any decrease in reliance on other medications, such as anti-inflammatories, is especially beneficial in the elderly. With acupuncture there is very little risk of any side effects when properly performed.
Stressed and anxious animals are also candidates for Chinese medicine. In these cases factors causing the stress or anxiety are also looked at. Generally when using Chinese medicine the overall picture including diet, exercise or other considerations are looked at to find any underlying cause and to make recurrence less likely. The aim is to improve health and well-being overall, at the same time as addressing individual symptoms.
Chinese medicine encompasses a complex view of the way the body works and how to treat illness. Concepts  include moving qi or blood, balancing or tonifying yin and yang, expelling cold or damp and cooling heat. These concepts may seem foreign to Western thought, however using this framework as it has been developed over time is frequently rewarding.
If you are interested in finding out more about our complementary medicines, ask to see Dr Brigid Becket when you call

Cat Vaccinations

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.

Dog Vaccinations

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.

TCVet on the Go!

TCVet on the GO! is our new house-call service.

Offering house-calls for all of the Tweed Coastal region.

We also offer medication delivery, and patient transfers to and from the clinic for hospitalisation and surgeries.