February 2010

In this issue:

Welcome to
Dr Sally Coggins

Welcome to
Gosia Anderst

Case of the Month:
Heart Pacemaker

NEW Cardiac Probe & ECG monitor

Staff News

Other Issues:

Edition 1: Sept 2006
Edition 2: June 2007
Edition 3: Dec 2007
Edition 4: April 2008
Edition 5: Dec 2008
Edition 6: Aug 2009
Edition 7: Feb 2010
Edition 8: Dec 2010
Edition 9: Mar 2011
Edition 10: July 2011
Edition 11: Sept 2011
Edition 12: Dec 2011
Edition 13: April 2012
Edition 14: August 2012
Edition 15: Dec 2012
Edition 16: May 2013
Edition 17: Dec 2013

Cats don't like change without their consent.
- Roger A. Caras

Cat whispers is a special e-mewsletter for our valued clients. Each edition we bring you up to date on what's happening at the hospital as well as interesting information and facts on pets and pet healthcare.
Visit our website at www.catdoctor.com.au

Welcome to Dr Sally Coggins

New Feline veterinarian

In January, we are thrilled to welcome Dr Sally Coggins, our new feline veterinarian, to the Cat Clinic. Sally graduated from Sydney University in 2007 and spent her first two years in practice working at a busy small animal practice in Canberra.  Having always adored cats, Sally began to focus on this passion in 2009, completing a distance education course in Feline Medicine.

She looks forward to furthering her knowledge of cats and will begin working toward sitting her Memberships with the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Feline Medicine.  Sally loves all aspects of feline practices and in addition to advancing her medicine skills, she also holds particular interests in feline surgery and dentistry.

Sally has one golden child… Mr Fox.  Fox was a stray abandoned kitten that Sally acquired from her first job.

Welcome to Gosia Anderst


Veterinary nurse

Gosia is our newest nurse to join the team, Gosia has moved to Melbourne from Perth to fulfil her dream of working in a cat-only practice. She has been working as a veterinary nurse for four years in large general Vet practice.

Gosia has completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, and is planning to start studying for a Veterinary Nursing Diploma in Surgery or Emergency Nursing next year. She was always the “cat” nurse at her clinic, so this was a logical step in her career.

Gosia has one much loved 21 month old calico and white domestic shorthair cat called Jezabel. Jezabel handled the journey from Perth very well and is looking forward to settling in to her new home in Melbourne.

Case of the Month


Heart Pacemaker – Eric, the 2nd cat in Victoria to receive one.

Eric is a handsome 12 year old Australian Mist that belongs to Nicole and Dan – Nicole was a Vet who worked here and at the cat clinic in Brisbane. She had noted that Eric just wasn’t himself and started having funny little “turns”. She brought him in for us to check even though she used to be a cat vet, as it’s just not the same when it’s one of your own that’s sick. He had an irregular heart beat – so his heart went from being normal to very slow all of a sudden. This would lead to a drop in his blood pressure and he would fall over. He had full x-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests with us and all were NORMAL?

So we sent him off to see the Cardiac Specialist, Dr. Richard Woolley (one of only 3 in Australia) who ran every test he could, but Eric’s condition wasn’t straight forward. He even stayed in hospital with a 24-hour heart monitor to record his heart beat during this time. But like some patients, the Hospital experience “cured” him and he didn’t faint at all during this time.

Nicole then took him to see Dr. Sam Long at Werribee – one of only two Veterinary Neurologists in Australia. He felt Eric’s fainting was more likely a bizarre seizure leading to the fainting. Eric was started on medications, to which he responded well until… one weekend, Eric started fainting terribly. When Nicole listened to his heart, it would stop for up to 5 seconds at a time. He was rushed off to the Cardiology centre again, where he was stabilised. He had an obvious heart block, a condition where the hearts natural pacemaker impulse can’t get through to all of the heart to make it beat properly. Without this impulse, Eric’s heart was missing beats and he would die if this was not corrected.

Nicole & Dan made the decision to pursue a pacemaker, his only option – even with only a handful of successful placements in Australia. Dr. Woolley along with a surgeon Dr Charles Kuntz took Eric to surgery, where a pacemaker lead was inserted into his heart from a small incision in his belly. The pacemaker itself sits in Eric’s tummy (about the size of a thick 50 cent coin) and sends electrical impulses to keep the heart beating regularly. He went home 2 days later and was an amazingly happy and bright cat when we saw him for his stitches out 2 weeks ago. He is only the 2nd cat in Victoria to receive a pacemaker.

It is obvious that these Veterinary bills were rather large, but this is the sort of Specialist Veterinary care available these days – another great reason to consider health insurance for your cat?

Cardiac disease


NEW Cardiac Probe & ECG monitor

Here at the Cat Clinic, we often use our ultrasound machine to assess organs in the abdomen for such complaints as intestinal or bladder disease. We have recently purchased a new cardiac probe, which is a more detailed probe for specifically examining the heart. This means that we are now able to better evaluate the structures of the heart, to better diagnose heart muscle diseases and investigate heart irregularities.

Richard has recently completed an advanced course in echocardiology – this is an area of keen interest for him. For complicated and unusual cases we can also refer cats to a cardiopulmonary specialist, Dr Richard Woolley, who works from the Southern Animal Referral Centre in Highett – which is where Eric received his pacemaker.

Staff News


Lara and Greg welcomed little Joshua into their lives last week, their first furless child. Lara will be on extended maternity leave and will hopefully be back with us later this year in some form of management role.

Richard: besides kayaking and playing golf, Richard will be kept busy at the practice and away as he has been invited to give several lecture series around Australia and in China later this year. He continues his position as President of the Melbourne branch of the Australian Veterinary Association.

Amy is studying hard in preparation to sit her fellowship examinations in June 2010. When she passes these examinations she will be the second specialist in feline medicine in Melbourne. This means Amy will be cutting back her consulting hours to 2-3 shifts per week and even taking weeks off to study hard – Keep up the hard work Amy.

Erin was sad to be leaving the clinic at the end of the year, having accepted a 3 year residency training position in small animal medicine at Murdoch University in Perth – thank you Erin & best of luck.

Congratulations to Faye, who married her partner Tim in November this year at Werribee mansion. They had a fantastic honeymoon in Japan.

Congratulations also to Louise and Josh on the news of their first pregnancy.

Jacqui is excited to be going to South Africa for a month, where she will be doing volunteer work at the Lion Park helping to care for and rehabilitate lions and other African wildlife.

Not to be outdone, Dr. Carolyn O’Brien & Alex had their 2nd baby last month, Annabel. Carolyn continues to mentor at the clinic and write publications for Veterinary journals whilst on extended maternity leave. 





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