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Small Animals Blog


Charlie came in to the Hawera clinic at the start of December feeling very unwell, he had been vomiting, and refusing food – very unlike him. Vet Adele could feel a hard lump in his tummy, and after x-rays and ultrasound were performed it was decided that Charlie needed a major abdominal surgery.

During surgery we found an intussusception (where part of the intestine, telescopes or slides inside itself). This portion of Charlie’s intestines had to be surgically removed, as the intestine had started to die off. The two open ends of intestine and colon were joined together, to form the first anastomosis (joining) of small to large bowel that we have ever performed here at TVC!

It was a risky procedure, but Charlie recovered very well and is now home with his loving family, trying to steal the other cats biscuits once again!

School Pet Days

As always we had so much fun being a part of the pet and calf days in South Taranaki over the last couple of months. We sponsored the champion calf covers and also had TVC drink bottles and pens given out as spot prizes! Check out some of our favourite pictures below from Tawhiti, Hawera Combined and Auroa Schools. 




Maine Coon Love 🐾

 🐾❤️  Jaxx and Indie are now both over 8kgs and still growing!!
Nurses Natalie and Holly may be the ones getting carried on the next visit! 😝


Budd came to see us as he was salivating a lot and it was slightly bloody in colour. He was playing fetch with his owner and ran to catch a stick but the stick got stuck in the ground and Budd ran into it. 
After his pre-med we were just able to see a very small part of the stick in the back of his mouth, in his soft palette. Budd had a full general anaesthetic and we were able to remove the stick that had broken off.
It was 6cm in size and left a hole in the back of his throat. After a good flush out of any other bits of stick left behind, some painkillers and antibiotics, he was able to go home.
Budd was such a wonderful patient and we hope the freak accident won't put him off playing fetch in the future!


Merlin was found and brought to us by the SPCA at the beginning of the year. His coat was extremely matted, dirty and probably very uncomfortable. Merlin was given the VIP treatment from our nurse team, washed, shaved and given plenty of love. He was re-homed to a new loving owner (Nurse Holly) who brings him in every couple of months to keep on top of his thick coat. Look at him today, a very clean, super friendly, beautiful looking cat!

It is so important to keep on top of your pet's grooming, if you dread the thought of trying to hold your cat still while trying to cut off a dag or two please give our nurses a call. All too often we have pets come in with scissor injuries that could be avoided. We are always more then happy to help where we can.


Dog Safety in our Schools

Vet Anna and her sidekick Minnie were out visiting Hawera Primary School today, giving a talk on dog safety. We have implemented this programme to educate children about safe ways to behave around dogs in an effort to reduce the shocking number of dog bites incurred by children.

We have now visited all primary schools in our Taranaki Vet area, reaching over 2000 children!

We will continue to visit these schools every two years, targeting the year 1 and 2 students.



Beanie stays on all fours!

Beanie came home one day limping with an open wound on his back left paw after being missing overnight. His xray showed he had some broken, displaced and dislocated toes. With only one remaining functional toe and a big open infected wound it was unknown how he would cope and if it would in fact heal once operated on. In order to save his leg, it was decided to remove the broken and dislocated toes, preserve the one functional toe and the all important metacarpal pad. Because there is not much skin to play with around the paws and there was a lot of infected tissue, it was expected that the wound after surgery would open up to a certain extent. These wounds are managed as “open wounds” with bandaging and heal up quite well from the edges to the middle of the wound.

With two months of cage rest and some very attentive and dedicated owners, we managed to save Beanie's leg and he has recently got the OK to go outside.

Beanie is managing well with his one toe now and is very happy to be able to be back outside on 4 legs. 


Fleur first presented to us as a very sad 10 week old Labrador. She had swollen joints and was reluctant to move, had weeping sores throughout her ears, over her face, and around her vulva. Fleur was also running a fever. After a thorough workup she was diagnosed with Juvenile Sterile Granulomatous Dermatitis, otherwise known as Puppy Strangles. This is an uncommon disease that strikes mostly puppies under 4months of age. They develop acute facial swelling, and enlarged lymph nodes, with sore spots developing on the face, in the ear, around the eyelids and the muzzle. These sores are initially sterile (have no known viral or bacterial component) however that can change as they weep and are open to new infections. Fleur was already unlikely to have this disease, but as her symptoms show, she had a bad case of it – less than 25% develop a sterile suppurative arthritis (the cause of her stiff, swollen joints) and fever. With early diagnosis puppies usually have an excellent prognosis. As you can see through the photos Fleur recovered well, and at her most recent visit, for her final puppy vaccination, was a beautiful, bouncy, healthy Labrador.

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Nurse Carol, Shaves for a Cure

For the past four years Carol, Stratford Vet Nurse, has been growing her hair out to be cut off and made into a wig. Being the awesome person she is, she decided to take it one step further and shave it all off as part of Shave For A Cure, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand's signature fundraising event. Last Saturday was 'the big chop' and Carol raised over $1000! Massive achievement!!



Fur ball anyone?

It was all hands on deck this morning with Aisha the 6 year old Leonberger in for a groom! A large black rubbish bag was filled with her excess hair, weighing in at 1.1kg! With summer around the corner Aisha will be feeling a lot more comfortable with a lighter coat.


Socks for Lunch!

Having just retrieved four stockings from the stomach of a blue heeler last month, we thought it would be a while before we had another case of a dog eating something silly.

But then George the Labrador walked through the door. Although he was pretty bright initially, he was vomiting frequently; and most worrying of all -  he’d lost his appetite (it takes a lot to put a labrador off his dinner). When we opened him up, the problem was obvious - a large wooly sock lodged in his small intestine. 

We removed the sock (after checking its pair wasn’t lurking elsewhere inside) and his intestines immediately looked happier.

We are delighted to report that he is making an excellent recovery - so much so that when he came in for his post operative check last week, his mum told us that he’d made a spirited attempt to swallow down a beanie hat just that morning…



Introducing Peppa, an interesting case who came to our Hawera Clinic recently. Peppa is a very lovely one year old Blue Heeler who had an unfortunate incident with a pair of stockings.  She decided that she would like to eat them!  Peppa presented to us with vomiting and a painful abdomen (stomach).  We took some xrays of her abdomen to see what was happening and could see that her intestines were not normal and appeared to be gathered up in one area. Peppa had a linear foreign body and required surgery.  Linear foreign bodies occur when animals eat something long and thin which works its way through the intestines and causes the guts to bunch up and creates a blockage. Another classic example of this is when a kitten swallows some string.  We gave Peppa a general anaesthetic and opened up her abdomen and found the offending stocking. Three incisions were required to remove the whole length of it, two in her small intestine and one into her stomach.  Peppa improved in leaps and bounds after her major surgery and is now back to her happy self.  We hope Peppa has learnt her lesson and doesn’t decide to eat any more items of hosiery ever again!



Occasionally we get a case that reads like a good thriller - with an engaging character to root for, a strong plot with interesting twists, a race-against-time sense of urgency and, of course, a happy ending.

Meg’s visit to us ticked all of these boxes - which is why we’ve chosen her as our Pet of the Month for July.

Meg arrived with a very pale and mysterious demeanour - in this case caused by having half the amount of blood that a fit, healthy farm dog ought to have. In a neat piece of misdirection, she had been recently mated, and despite circumstantial evidence pointing to this as the prime suspect, the cause turned out to be something quite different. 

We had to work rapidly - Meg was continuing to lose blood and her condition was deteriorating - but with no diagnosis, we didn’t have a treatment plan. Being after 5pm, the external labs were shut so we had to figure out an answer quickly - and without their help.

After several tests and some detective work, we discovered the problem, and following a surprised corroboration by her owners, our prime suspect was ruled out as a red herring - and a new culprit was found - rat bait. Meg had been seen trying to sneak off with half a cake of the poison just two days previously. We started treatment immediately but we still needed to find a hero dog willing to donate their blood to step into the breach. Luckily Harley was on standby - a lovely big dog who is happy to trade blood for a bag of tasty dog food. 

We waited anxiously to see whether Meg would accept the new blood - which she did - and we were all relieved to see her gum colour turn from off-white, to a pale pink. 

By the next day, Meg was up and about and eating her breakfast. This is a photo of Meg and nurse Holly taken at Meg's check up appointment a week later - and we are delighted to report that she is well on the way to recovery!

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