Unlucky Gall Bladder Problem

“Lucky” an 11 year old Maltese terrier was referred from another clinic for abdominal ultrasound due to ongoing abdominal pain, vomiting and dehydration. His blood results pointed to liver disease; which in aged dogs can be due to cancer, infections, immune based disease, fatty liver disease, and a blocked bile duct often secondary to pancreatitis.


Our ultrasound showed a gall bladder with a particular image suggestive of a gall bladder mucocoele which is rather rare, and certainly offers a better prognosis than liver tumour; but still requires immediate surgery. The gall bladder fills with thick, bacteria laden bitumen like contents that requires a gall bladder removal asap. So “Lucky” had an exploratory laparotomy that same day, with the operation going very well despite the difficulty of access in this tiny patient.






Lucky made a prompt recovery and is now back to his best although his mum has to ensure he stays on a low fat diet.









Rehabilitation with Hydrotherapy

At Erina Heights Veterinary Hospital, we aim to provide a holistic approach to your pet’s care, such as with the provision of our rehabilitation and hydrotherapy services. We also continue to get many referrals from SASH animal physiotherapy since their move to Tuggerah recently.

Our main rehabilitation nurses Shannon, Emma and Tanya, are performing most of our underwater treadmill therapies for such wide ranging conditions as:

  • Post orthopaedic surgery rehabilitation (fractures, patellar luxation, anterior cruciate ligament rupture);
  • Obesity and weight loss management;
  • Intervertebral disc disease;
  • Spinal disease;
  • Osteoarthritis; and
  • Various muscular problems.

If you are interested in applying this treatment to your pet, please give us a call.

Team News

After Easter, Dr Michael Jones will be stepping back from his full time role as he enters his 40th year in veterinary practice. He will continue to do select surgeries and support the team behind the scenes. We welcome Dr Audrey Sokolowski to EHVH, originally from the  Gosford area, and comes with extensive medical and surgical expertise from a large regional city in NSW. Audrey also has the novel experience of being head vet in a baboon rescue hospital in South Africa. Please make her feel welcome.

Michael extends his gratitude to all our clients who have supported our hospital over the years…..

”I feel privileged and grateful to have been entrusted with the care of your pets. At EHVH we have a team of very skilled vets and nurses who share my vision for the future of this great hospital”.

You are likely well aware of the baby boom in the last year with our nursing staff especially, and we are now seeing a return of some familiar faces in Jacqui and Leah post maternity leave. Welcome back!

Professional Learning for Our Vets

EHVH invests heavily in continuing education of our vets so that our clients continue to receive the most up to date care. Recent post graduate education courses attended include Dr Holly Boyden in Sydney at a surgical dentistry and oral health seminar. Dr Alice Dunn ventured to the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus for a cruciate ligament surgical workshop over two days; and Dr Jacqui Letondeur attended the same venue for a two day ophthalmic surgery workshop.

TTA Workshop – Dr Alice Dunn, recently returned from an intensive workshop to complete her training in Tibial Tuberosity Advancement Surgery (TTA). Alice has been performing this surgery with Dr Michael Jones to provide the best option for cruciate repair. The workshop was run by surgical specialist Brent Higgins, the creator of the OssAbility system for TTA surgery. This system provides a structured and supported way of performing the advanced orthopaedic procedure. Alice also learnt how to perform epidural analgesia during the workshop and will provide this service for pain relief. Alice enjoys performing this surgery and the successful results it provides to her patients, making a sore leg stable and comfortable again.

Dentistry Workshop – Dr Holly Boyden attended a practical and theory dental course run by Dr Christine Hawke (Sydney Pet Dentistry). This course gave Holly a good refresher on best diagnosis, treatment and management of many common dog and cat dental conditions. The importance of good veterinary dental services is increasingly recognised as being vital for good health and best quality of life in our animal family members. In particular, the course focused on atraumatic and efficient extraction techniques, best pain relief practises, and the requirement of veterinary radiography and thorough exam under anaesthetic to allow effective diagnosis and treatment of most dental lesions.

Ophthalmology Workshop – Dr Jacqui Letondeur recently travelled to The University of Queensland veterinary campus to undertake a training course in small animal ophthalmology. Ophthalmology relates to the anatomy, physiology and pathology of eyes. The course covered diagnosing and treating ocular and peri-ocular conditions quickly and effectively, which is vital to saving the vision and maintaining the quality of life of many of our furry friends. The information gained at the course was not only invaluable for Jacqui’s clinical skills, but has the flow-on effect of better equipping Erina Heights Vets with helping the animal members of your family!


Does Your Dog Have Difficulty Breathing?


Have you ever wondered what can be done to help those squishy face dogs like British Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs and French Bulldogs (also known as brachycephalic breeds), to breathe that little bit easier? Due to their airway conformation, these breeds are often prone to breathing and gastrointestinal issues. One of our veterinarians, Dr Melissa Kozaruk, recently attended a 2-day intensive workshop, to learn the latest surgical techniques for these patients and pass on these surgical skills to the rest of our vet team. “Yoda” is a French Bulldog who recently had surgery at Erina Heights Veterinary Hospital to correct his nose conformation, giving him a lot more space to get air in through his nostrils. Have a look at the before and after pictures- can you see the difference?

Fun Facts – Animal Sleep Patterns

Do you think your pet sleeps a lot? Well here are some fun facts. Dogs sleep an average 12-14 hours per day, while cats sleep an average of 12.5 hours a day. Horses and elephants only sleep 3-4 hours a day, whereas the little brown bat sleeps up to 20 hours a day! Some species have special adaptations for sleep. Dolphins and whales avoid drowning by sleeping with only half of their brain at a time, and some migrating birds can sleep while flying!


Veterinary Internship – Welcome Dr Justine Norwood

You may see a new face in our vet team over the next few months! Dr Justine Norwood (BVSc- University of Sydney) will be joining us for a 3 month rotation as part of a veterinary internship program. Justine is a fully qualified veterinarian, with experience in the animal industry, as well as a background in tourism and business. She will also rotate through other prominent veterinary hospitals including North Shore Veterinary Specialist Hospital. Welcome Justine!

Outdoor Cats Beware – It’s Tick Season

Care with outdoor cats as tick cases are still rampant.

We are lucky to have  a choice of tablet and chew products for prevention of tick paralysis in dogs (Nexgard, Bravecto, and Simparica), but these cannot be used in cats. There is no reliable registered product for this purpose in cats. We feel that the closest we can get to protection in cats is with the collar product “Seresto” which has a label claim only for flea prevention. Other alternatives include confining indoors, daily searches, close clipping of the coat, and less well regarded topical sprays.

Cats develop respiratory signs earlier than dogs, and in some cases their difficulty breathing precedes their leg weakness. As we only have dog derived tick antiserum to treat them, with its greater risk of shock or anaphylaxis,  cats give us many challenges in their treatment. Remember, the earlier you get the patient to us, the better the outcome.

Vets Continuing Education

Melissa has just returned from the University of Qld, Gatton small animal surgery facility and getting the latest surgical techniques to improve and treat the obstructive airway problems so common in brachycephalic dogs (short nosed breeds such as pugs, French and English bulldogs, Lhasa’s etc).

Jesse is attending two days at the Charles Sturt Vet Faculty in Wagga Wagga updating his skills on the new orthopaedic locking screw and plate technique for the repair of bone fractures. As the screw is now locked into the bone plate as well as the bone, it is inherently more secure and resistant to loosening.