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Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals Kingston

Health Checks

Health Check

Do your best friend a favour and don’t miss their annual health care check. Pets on average, age five to eight times faster than humans. By age two, most pets have already reached adulthood. At age four, many are entering middle age. By age seven, many dogs, particularly larger breeds are entering their senior year.

Early detection is the key.

Because pets age so rapidly, major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. The risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age. And because today’s pets are living longer than ever, chances are many can experience a potentially serious illness during their lifetime. Annual health checks can help our veterinarians diagnose, treat or prevent problems before they become life-threatening. Its also a great opportunity to ask us about nutrition, behaviour, and other issues.

Give your best friend every opportunity to enjoy a long, healthy and happy life.

Ask us to schedule your pet’s health check visit today. We offer a complimentary health check with your pet’s annual vaccination.

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Checking dog teeth

Dental treatment is important to ensure your pet’s mouth is free of infection and pain. Most pets require a dental procedure every 1-2 years. Our dental procedures include:

  • Pre-anaesthetic blood tests for animals over the age of 7 to check their kidneys, liver, blood glucose and proteins.
  • General anaesthetic using the safest agents and monitoring equipment.
  • X-rays of all teeth to look for infection or bone decay underneath the gums. At Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals we have special dental x-ray equipment. This means we can pick up decay and cavities, that would otherwise be missed.
  • Ultrasonic scaling to remove calculus from teeth and infection from surrounding gums.
  • Polishing of all teeth to help prevent future build-up of tartar.

Your pet’s teeth, just like human teeth, require a lot of care to prevent disease. Dental disease is a very common and often neglected problem. By three years of age, 4 out of 5 of dogs and cats are suffering from painful infections that require veterinary attention.

Dogs and cats usually continue to eat and show no outward signs of pain. It is not until we examine their teeth and gums that we realize there is a problem. If only they could talk!

Some dogs and cats are more prone to disease due to their diet, genetics and/or age.

Pet getting their teeth checked

The progression of dental disease

Grade 0: Clean, white teeth and healthy gums.
Grade 1: Food and bacteria stick to teeth and form plaque (yellow fuzz). This hardens into a permanent layer of grey tartar, forming a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
Grade 2: Infection forms under the gums causing gingivitis (red, inflamed and painful gums).
Grade 3: Severe infection causes the gums to recede, the tooth ligaments to loosen and the surrounding bone to decay. This is very painful.
Grade 4: The surrounding bone rots and the teeth start to fall out. Other problems can also occur, such as fractured teeth or tooth root abscesses.

Dental surgery for severe disease

If your pet is suffering from infection of the tooth root or bone decay around the tooth, extractions may be required. The procedure involves:

  • Nerve blocks with local anaesthetic
  • Careful removal of diseased teeth, including roots
  • Gums are closed with absorbable sutures
  • Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication

Dogs and cats cope well with missing teeth and are usually much happier when a sore tooth has been removed!


Prevention only works before disease develops. These methods target the early stages of disease by removing plaque (yellow fuzz).

  • Tooth brushing
  • Special diets, eg. Hills T/D.
  • Dental chews, eg. Greenies.
  • Antibacterial water additives, eg Healthy Mouth.

Prevention can help to slow the progression of disease and delay the need for a full dental procedure. It is NOT effective for disease of Grade 2 or higher. Once tartar forms, it is as hard as concrete. Only an ultrasonic scaler can remove tartar and resolve the associated infection and pain.

Don’t forget regular dental checks.

Just like humans, dogs and cats should have a dental check at least every 6 months. At Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals, we offer free dental health checks to make it easy to look after your pet’s teeth.

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Why should I de-sex my pet?

There are many advantages to desexing your pet and they are not always related to surprise litters of puppies and kittens!

Desexing helps prevent some nasty diseases that could develop later in life. Some behavioural problems may also be addressed by desexing.

Male dogs and cats tend to stray from home when there is a female around. They are also much more likely to get into fights than their desexed counterpart. Tom cats can be gone for days on end and it is not uncommon for them to return with serious injuries from fights, which can be very expensive to treat. Toms may even spray urine inside the house and as any cat owner would know, the smell does linger!

In dogs, the most notable trait of an un-desexed male is their need to urinate on everything that is vertical. Other problems include a tendency to wander in search of a girlfriend. Desexing can also help to reduce aggressive behavior towards other male dogs. And finally, older un-desexed male dogs are more likely to develop prostate and testicular problems including cancer.

Female pets are generally desexed to prevent unwanted puppies or kittens. It also stops your animals from coming into season. It can be very disturbing to hear your cat start to “call” to attract tom cats. Dogs that come into season can leave spots of blood on your carpet and furniture and also attract unwanted male dogs to your property. Health-wise, a female pet that has not been desexed will have a much higher chance of developing life threatening illnesses such as breast cancer.

When and how is the surgery performed?

We recommend desexing your dog or cat at 6 months of age, to get the maximum advantage from the procedure. However, no pet is too old to benefit from desexing.

The surgery is carried out under a general anaesthetic after a thorough examination has been carried out. Pain relief is given to all patients during surgery so their recovery is as rapid and comfortable as possible.

We are also the only veterinary hospital in Tasmania to offer keyhole desexing surgery.

Our vets are happy to discuss this in more detail with you at the time of consultation.

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Why vaccinating your pet is so important?

Vaccinating your pet is the only way to protect them against certain viral diseases that are highly contagious and can be fatal.
Because viruses cause them, there is no cure and treatment can be expensive, distressing for both you and your pet, and not always successful.

Annual vaccinations are recommended to keep antibody levels high throughout your pet’s life. Our hospitals will send you annual vaccination reminders to help remind you when they are due.

Note: All reputable boarding establishments require your pet to have up-to-date vaccinations otherwise they may refuse boarding.

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Gareth performing surgery

Some of the most important moments of your pets’ life will involve a surgical procedure being performed. At Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals we strive to ensure that no compromises are made. No matter how large or small that procedure may be, we have the expertise, staff and facilities to offer your animal the ultimate in veterinary care.

Our veterinary surgeons are trained to perform almost all surgeries available for your pet ranging from routine surgery like desexing and stitch-ups, to more advanced abdominal and orthopaedic surgeries. Dr Gareth Stephensen performs more specialised surgeries including spinal surgery, cardiorespiratory surgery and specific orthopaedics. He also receives referral surgeries from most other veterinary clinics around Tasmania.

  • Routine surgery
  • Soft tissue surgery
  • Tumour removal surgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Urogenital surgery
  • Oral surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Emergency surgery
  • Referral surgeries

The nursing staff at Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals are trained in all facets of surgery. We have more nursing staff than traditional veterinary hospitals ensuring that we can have a team of nurses caring for your loved one during their surgical procedure. We have dedicated preparation nurses, anaesthetic nurses, theatre nurses, scrub nurses and recovery nurses meaning that every patient is cared for by staff trained to the highest standards. The high staffing levels and the high standards we set ourselves means we can continuously monitor all pets during their stay with us – the result is the safest and most comfortable surgical experience available.

The equipment and facilities at Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals are second to none. Our purpose built hospital has multiple sterile theatres, sterilisation room, presurgical preparation area and comfortable, quiet recovery rooms. We have the latest in anaesthetic machines and monitoring equipment ensuring that all vital parameters can be monitored during anaesthetic, surgery, and recovery. Our theatre and hospital are managed to human hospital standards and consistent education ensures that we keep up to date with the latest techniques. We also have extensive in-house laboratory equipment allowing blood tests to be performed prior to anaesthetic and surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy prior to their procedure.

If you demand only the highest standards and safest treatment, rest assured that every animal at Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals is treated with the best available care by a dedicated team of veterinary surgeons and exceptional nursing staff.

Keyhole Surgery

Keyhole surgery

What is Keyhole Surgery?

A thin surgical telescope is inserted into the abdomen through a 5mm port allowing the surgeon to visualise the internal organs without opening the abdomen. Subsequent ports can then be inserted to allow for surgical instruments to be are then introduced into the abdomen to allow a variety of procedures to be performed.

Why is keyhole desexing best for my pet?

Clinical studies have shown that keyhole surgery for spaying of female dogs and neutering of male dogs with undescended testicles has increased benefits when compared to traditional (open) surgery.

  • Smaller wounds heal rapidly with minimal scarring
  • Less surgical trauma and pain
  • Faster and more comfortable recovery from surgery
  • Better surgical and visualisation and therefore, a safer surgery

What procedures can be performed?

There are a large number of procedures that can be performed using keyhole surgery and include:

  • Female Desexing
  • Tumour Diagnostics
  • Retained Testicle Removal
  • Exploratory Surgeries
  • Gastropexies
  • Bladder Stone Removal
  • Liver Biopsies
  • Intestinal Foreign Body Removal
  • Pancreatic Biopsies
  • Gall Bladder Removal
  • Intestinal Biopsies
  • Feeding Tube Placement
  • Lymph Node Biopsies
  • Plus many moreā€¦

There are also several advanced procedures that can be performed including thoracoscopy, which allows visualisation and minimally invasive surgical procedures to be performed in the chest cavity.

Due to the cost of the equipment used, keyhole surgery does cost slightly more than traditional open surgical techniques. The benefits and advantages of keyhole surgery far outweigh the marginal increase in costs.

In a nutshell, your pet receives the same benefits humans receive when they choose keyhole surgery over open surgery. It is also important to remember that most pet insurance policies will cover keyhole surgery procedures. If you would like more information on any of our keyhole procedures, please chat to our trained staff.

Puppy School

We understand that behavioural problems can cause frustration and exhaustion, affecting the relationship you have with your beloved pet. 

We offer professional behavioural assistance through consultations and training to help ensure your relationship with your pet is as strong as it can be.

Please complete the online questionnaire below and we will be in touch with the best recommendations, specific to your pet and needs.

Behaviour Questionnaire

Would you like to guide your puppy to become a safe, sociable and happy member of your family and the wider community?

Puppy School is very important first step to start socialising and training your puppy.

At Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals, our Puppy School classes are run held in a secure, safe environment and consider your puppy’s temperament and confidence level.

Classes are run twice weekly at our Bellerive Clinic on weekday evenings from 7-8pm.

Puppies between 8-16 weeks of age are invited to attend once they have had their first vaccination. Optimum socialisation for puppies happens between 3-12 weeks of age, although this may vary from puppy to puppy and can be up to 16 weeks of age.

During puppy preschool sessions we encourage and guide the development of social skills, reinforce acceptable behaviour, and teach verbal cues as well as teach new owners about their new puppy.

10 reasons to choose Tasmanian Veterinary Hospitals for your Puppy School

  • Small classes. We have restricted numbers of 4-6 puppies so that you and your puppy can have individual attention.
  • Socilisation. We understand the importance of correct socilisation with other dogs, humans, and novelty in a controlled manner to ensure positive experiences to build confidence levels of each individual puppy.
  • Evidence based. Training methods are based on proven scientific methods (Operant and Classical Conditioning), focussing on positive reinforcement training.
  • Positive training. You will learn to use positive, reward-based training, rather than dominance or punishment. Positive reinforcement training is a technique that is used worldwide and is the most humane and effective way to train. Rewards based training focuses on teaching the dog what you DO want them to do in any given situation, instead of punishing them for doing anything and everything else.
  • Fundamental behaviours – Puppies will learn the most important cues such as sit, stay, come and heel, followed by a few “party tricks”. You will also learn how to continue training these behaviours at home, yes there is some ‘homework!’.
  • Problem prevention. Discuss how to prevent/manage/retrain problem behaviours like jumping up, barking or play biting through education of normal and abnormal puppy behaviour.
  • Densensitisation. We will start to desensitise puppies to new experiences such as having their nails trimmed or their teeth brushed, along with a variety of novel stimuli.
  • Health care tips. Important health care for your puppy such as worming, flea treatment and vaccinations will also be discussed, along with basic emergency response training by our trained team.
  • Written notes. Take-home information sheets are provided for you to share with the family or refer to later.
  • All welcome! Family members are encouraged to come along, including children.

If you have any further questions about puppy class, please feel free to call us! You are welcome to chat with the friendly staff at any of our clinics over the phone, via email or in person.

Places fill up very quickly, so please call to book your puppy in for Puppy Class as soon as possible.

We all look forward to meeting you, your puppy and family soon!

If you would like to enquire about Puppy classes by e-mail, please contact us.


As a pet owner you want to ensure you are feeding your pet a healthy and balanced diet.

We recommend and stock premium pet food products, these include Delicate care (Australian made with Australian ingredients), Hill’s science diet and Royal Canin. Their research behind the formulas and their commitment to safety and quality is excellent.

Pet foods vary enormously in price and quality and many contain poor quality ingredients and excesses of nutrients. Commercial pet foods are often sold on palatability and have high levels of salt and fat. Often a single product is fed for all ages where nutrients are added at levels to meet the highest potential need – usually growth and reproduction. Precise nutrition is essential, as too few or too many nutrients can be harmful to a pet. By feeding the right food at the right age you can help prevent problems later in life and help your pet live longer.

Many owners believe that a homemade diet is best for their pet. It is possible to achieve the same nutrient balance with a homemade diet as with a commercially prepared food but this largely depends on the accuracy of the recipe and the compliance and discipline of the owner. Unfortunately, many homemade diets you find online are not complete or balanced to fulfil animal requirements and tend to be a one size fits all type of recipe. If you wish to feed a home-made diet to your pet, please contact the clinic and we can formulate a diet with a nutritionist that is balanced for your pets need.

Is your pet a bit on the heavier side?

You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs under a thin layer of tissue. They should have a waist to that when you run your hands down their side it should be thinner than the rib cage.

If your pet is overweight, the added weight puts pressure on the joints and predisposes your pet to arthritis. The fat you see on the outside is also coating the arteries and veins on the inside increasing the risk of severe liver and heart disease.

Ways to get weight off:

  • Ask us about our weight loss program, our experienced Veterinary Nurses can give tips and advice to help your pet slim down
  • Increase their exercise- for dogs it can be adding in more walks and for cat’s new toys or cat palaces to play with
  • Decrease their ration- feed them a good quality food using the packets guide to daily feeding and FEED THEM TO THE WEIGHT YOU WANT THEM TO BE NOT THE WEIGHT THEY ARE.

Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital really wants to help get your pet in the best form they can be so feel free to ask us question or seek advice, we are always willing to help!

Your pet can live a longer, healthier life through proper nutrition. Every animal progresses through different life stages as they mature. Each stage is unique and requires different nutritional needs.

Saying Goodbye

For every person who loves and shares their life with a dog, the dreaded day when you question whether to intervene in how and when your dog’s life will end. The thought of saying goodbye to your dog for the last time is heartbreaking.

Signs that your dog may be dying are:

  • Prolonged lethargy and disinterest
  • Stopping eating and drinking
  • Loss of co ordination
  • Incontinence
  • Laboured breathing
  • Seeking comfort

However, the signs that a dog is dying are not always consistent. Not all dogs will exhibit all these signs, and some dogs will exhibit even more. While preparing for saying goodbye to your dog, you are going to have to decide if your dog needs your help crossing over.

There are some choices surrounding the compassionate euthanasia of your pet which you may decide on before the day so there will be less burden.

  • Euthanasia can be administered at the hospital or at your home by arrangement.
  • You can be present with your pet or choose to hold the living memory whilst our caring staff support them on their journey.
  • You are welcome keep your pet’s collar with you after they have passed; wrap them in a special blanket; trim a piece of their fur to keep or give them a small keepsake to keep by their body – everyone’s farewell is different and we will be there to accompany you and assist where we can.
  • You may like to bury them at home in the garden, at the family holiday home, or we can arrange cremation through a pet burial company.

Please feel free to talk through these options with our vets or nurses beforehand.

Call us for a chat regarding your pets needs.

Bellerive 03 6244 7667 Sorell 03 6265 2935 Kingston 03 6229 9345