Welcome to the team Dr Anna!

Welcome to the team Dr Anna!

Dr Anna graduated from UQ in 1995, and spent most of her first 10 vet years overseas. First it was the UK in mixed and general practice, then volunteering in India and Borneo in animal shelters. After coming back to Oz in 2006 (with English husband in tow) Dr Anna settled in to SE Qld. Since then she has been in local GP practices, at the AWL doing shelter work, and locuming.
Dr Anna will be bringing some new and exciting services to James Street – Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Great for those who are seeking a more holistic approach to their pets care.

Farewell Dr Phillipa Rich

Farewell Dr Phillipa Rich

We wish to let our clients know that Dr Phillipa Rich will not be returning to her position at James Street, Unfortunately Dr Phillipa has been dealing with some medical issues and has decided to spend time with her family making precious memories.
James Street Veterinary hospital wants to Thank Dr Phillipa for all her contributions to the clinic over the years and the love and care she gave to all of her patients.

How old is my pet in human years?

Our Pet Age Calculator will tell you. Turns out it’s not as simple as just multiplying a cat or dog’s age by 7! Pets can age differently depending on their species, breed, and size. Input your pet’s calendar age below and find out their relative age and life stage, anywhere from a fresh-faced Puppy or Kitten to a “golden oldie” Geriatric.

Your guide to senior check-ups

Hi paw parent, just like you, pets want to live a long and happy life. With proper health care management, older pets can live their lives to their full potential, which may be well over the equivalent of 100 human years! The key to giving them a longer, healthier time with you can be pretty simple, it’s all about detecting problems early. Half yearly check-ups and thorough physical examinations are recommended for Senior pets. As are lots of pats and cuddles, but you already knew that bit!

Senior Pets

Aging is an unavoidable part of life, and when it comes to our pets, some will age without any major issues, and some will need a little extra TLC. It is important to know what age-related changes look like and how to manage them appropriately, so we can ensure our pets are comfortable.

When does my pet become a senior?
This can vary between individuals and can be greatly influenced by breed, size, pre-existing health conditions and living situations, but typically:

  • Small dogs – six to seven years old
  • Large dogs – five to six years old
  • Cats – eight to ten years old

You might notice some physical and behavioural changes, such as:

  • Greying or whitening fur around the nose and mouth or throughout the coat
  • A general ‘slowing down’ or a slightly less bouncy personality
  • Longer and more frequent naps throughout the day
  • More frequent urination, and perhaps the odd ‘accident’
  • Increased vocalisation – this can be caused by increased anxiety, confusion or frustration

Common Senior Pet Ailments
Some of the age-related changes our pets may experience may be uncomfortable and impact their daily lives a little more than a greying moustache. If you notice any of the below it is important to have your vet check them out to determine a plan to help your pet

  • Arthritis (inflammation of the joints, making it uncomfortable to stand up and move around).
  • Loss of eyesight –caused by a clouding of the eyes, cataracts or other eye diseases.
  • Loss of hearing.
  • Incontinence – this is common in older pets but there are plenty of treatment plans your vet can recommend. Incontinence can also indicate urinary tract infections, kidney disease or hormonal changes.
  • Weight changes – due to reduced physical activity and/or changes in hormones as they age, older pets can gain weight. You may also find that they lose weight due to a changed appetite, reduced nutrient absorption, reduced muscle mass or even a digestive illness. Weight gain or loss as a pet ages isn’t normal and should be investigated by your vet.
  • Lumps and bumps are definitely more common as our pets age! It is always recommended to get them checked by a vet to rule out possible nasties.
  • Smelly breath – just like us, our pet’s immune systems weaken with age, so their bodies can’t fight off germs as easily as they once did. We can see this as gum disease, tooth decay, or other infections in the mouth, leading to smelly breath. Smelly breath can mean a painful mouth for your pet (not to mention offensive to us!) so check in with our team if you notice this.

How can I make my senior pet more comfortable?
There are plenty of ways to manage your pet’s aging, and these tips are very easy to implement:

  • Talk to your vet about your pet’s diet – they may need more nutritious food for nurturing specific conditions and even the inclusion of dietary supplements.
  • Let your senior pet sleep inside in winter – keeping them comfy and warm will keep them feeling safe and secure, as well as help to alleviate any arthritis symptoms.
  • Provide them with soft and easily accessible (not too high or low) bedding.
  • Add extra water bowls around the house (and closer to their bed area) so they do not need to move around unnecessarily.
  • Raise food and water bowls to prevent your pet needing to hunch to access the contents.
  • Offer extra litter trays or make sure their toileting area is easily accessible.
  • Keep your senior pet active with simple, low impact activities and exercises.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature. As pets age they may struggle with regulating their body temperature – in winter keep your pet indoors where possible, move their bedding inside and investigate pet jackets or jumpers for some breeds.

If you have a senior pet, we invite you to come into the clinic for a health check to make sure your best friend is in tip-top shape, especially ahead of the winter months where the cooler temperatures can slow everyone down. Call us on (07 ) 3807 4113 or email info@jstvet.com.au to book your consultation today.


Obesity & Weight loss

The internet is full of cute, funny photos and videos of ‘chonky’ pets – but a fat cat or pudgy pup is no laughing matter. Much the same as humans, overweight and obese animals are susceptible to a range of dangerous and uncomfortable health conditions, and ultimately can lead to a shortened life.

Obesity is one of the most common nutritional disorders our vets see in cats and dogs. In Australia and New Zealand, nearly half of all pet dogs and approximately a third of pet cats are overweight!
Some common ailments caused by being overweight include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
  • Degenerative joint and orthopedic disease (including arthritis)
  • Joint stress or musculoskeletal pain
  • Respiratory problems
  • Cancer and tumours
  • Skin problems
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Shorter life expectancy

What causes pets to become overweight?

There are a few ways our pets can gain excess weight, and whilst some breeds are more susceptible to weight-gain than others, most reasons come down to our willpower as a responsible pet parent! These causes can include:

  • Feeding extra treats
  • Feeding unhealthy treats
  • Feeding an unbalanced diet
  • Lack of exercise

How do I know if my pet is overweight?

Your pet might be overweight if:

  • You experience difficulty when trying to feel their ribs
  • You cannot see a defined ‘waist’
  • You can see obvious fat deposits and rolls
  • They are no longer grooming themselves efficiently, if at all
  • They are reluctant to exercise or are disinterested
  • They quickly become tired and refuse to continue exercise
  • They have a ‘waddle’ to their walk – or other abnormal movement
  • They are at a weight dramatically different from breed guidelines
  • They are often panting – even without movement or exercise

Healthy treats and fun exercise

Avoid feeding your pet ‘junk food’ treats like jerky type strips and highly processed snacks that might be purchased in the supermarket. Human treats are also a big no-no – no matter how cute those begging eyes are. It is also important not to feed your pet treats here and there ‘just because’. Use treats as a reward for positive behaviours and training.
Some healthier reward treats include:

  • A small percentage of your pet’s daily feed allowance (kibble)
  • Fresh foods like carrots, zucchini, berries, or beans for dogs
  • Small amounts of cooked fish, catnip, or cat grass for cats

Some simple ways to include fun exercise in your pet’s day include:

  • A walk
  • Playing with your pet – inside or in the backyard
  • Fetch (for cats and dogs!)
  • Tug-o-war
  • Swimming
  • Climbing toys and spaces for cats
  • Chasing laser toys
  • Socialising with other animals your pet is comfortable with
  • Nose-works – get your cat or dog moving by hiding healthy treats or interesting smells for them to sniff out

What can I do if I think my pet is overweight?

If you suspect your pet is overweight, it is important not to change their diet or exercise schedule drastically or quickly – this could exacerbate the problem. Book an appointment to see our team, and together we will create a plan to help your pet reach their optimal weight in a healthy and sustainable manner.

Urinary Blockages in Cats

What is a urinary blockage? 

Urinary blockages in cats are often referred to as ‘blocked bladders’ and ‘urethral obstructions’.

This is a common, potentially life-threatening condition, especially amongst neutered male adult cats and overweight cats.


A urinary blockage can completely prevent your cat from urinating, causing damage to the urinary tract, a back-up of urine in the bladder which can lead to a build-up of toxins in the bloodstream and cause kidney failure. In severe cases, the cat’s bladder can eventually rupture.

A cat with a urethral obstruction can become critically ill very quickly.

How does it happen? 

There are several different causes for a urethral obstruction:

  • The formation of urethral plugs (a build-up of sludge-like material caused by excess protein and minerals)
  • Urinary stones or crystals
  • Narrowing of the urinary tract (from scar tissue or a tumour)
  • Lower urinary tract disease (leading to swelling or involuntary spasms)

What are the symptoms? 

It is vital to act quickly if you suspect your cat is suffering from a urinary blockage. Some key symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Frequent trips to the litter box
  • More frequent grooming of the rear-end
  • Difficulty urinating (very little urine being excreted)
  • Vocalisation during attempted urination (pain)
  • Swollen/firm abdomen that is painful to touch
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Inability to stand

How is a blocked bladder treated? 

Depending on the severity of the urinary blockage, your vet may treat your cat with intravenous fluids, medication to prevent urethral spasms, and pain management medication. Your cat may need to stay in hospital to be treated. If the blockage is  severe, it will need to be physically relieved through catheterisation under general anaesthesia. The bladder will then be flushed to remove excess urine and any crystalline material.

Your vet may also run a number of tests to determine the cause of the  urinary blockage, using ultrasound, x-rays, and specific blood tests.


If your cat displays any of the above symptoms, make sure to call us straight away on (07 ) 3807 4113 as this condition is very serious and patients can quickly deteriorate.

Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

You’ve likely been spending lots of time at home during the pandemic, and no doubt your dog has enjoyed this quality time with you. If like many, you’ve welcomed a new furry family member into your home during this period, they’ll be very used to having you around most of the time. This poses a challenge for our pets when they start spending more time alone. Some dogs may take these new changes to their routine fine. But for other pets, it could bring about separation anxiety, which can be very distressing for dogs and owners alike.


Separation anxiety is one of the most common yet most underdiagnosed behavioural problems in dogs. The clinical signs of excessive barking, howling, destruction, self-mutilation, urination, and defecation can significantly affect both dogs and owners. Luckily, veterinarians understand separation anxiety, and there are treatment options available to manage this condition and improve the quality of life for your special furry family member.


Separation anxiety is distress experienced on separation from you as the owner(s). Anxiety is the “anticipation of future danger or misfortune” – Dr K Seksel. Dogs are social animals, and it is normal for a puppy to become attached to their litter and then subsequently to the human family that becomes their home. Some dogs do not adjust to being without their owners and develop separation distress. Some dogs may become destructive or vocalise if under-stimulated and not provided with the appropriate physical exercise and mental stimulation. However, signs of separation anxiety become apparent when they are linked to the owner’s departures or absence, when they cannot gain access to them and when they cannot adjust to their absences over time. These dogs are anxious and are not “acting out” or trying to spite their owners; they are having a difficult time and need help.


Pay attention to your dog’s behaviour before you leave the house. Some possible signs to look for are:

  • Signs of distress, especially when your dog sees cues that you are leaving like picking up keys, putting on shoes or applying make-up
  • Following you around unusually
  • Pacing
  • Try desperately to go with you
  • Reacting to noises unusually
  • House soiling
  • Panting and drooling
  • Freezing
  • Barking
  • Scratching
  • Other signs of distress


Some possible signs of separation anxiety while you’re away from your dog include coming home to:

  • Digging in the garden
  • Destructive behaviours around the house
  • Trying to escape
  • Reports from neighbours of repetitive barking, whining or howling
  • House soiling


If you notice any of these signs of separation anxiety, please speak to your veterinarian. Depending on the case, they may refer you to a veterinarian with further qualifications in behaviour or a veterinary behaviour specialist.


Come prepared for your Vet consult with a thorough understanding of your dog’s history, routine, and any changes to their routine that could be causing the anxiety.


Things your Vet may recommend to address your pet’s separation anxiety:

  • The use of calming pheromones, like Adaptil diffusers, sprays or collars
  • Encouraging independence through positive reinforcement exercises
  • Creating a structured and predictable routine for your dog
  • Make departures and arrivals low-key (calmly speaking to your dog, but not ignoring them completely)
  • Offering your dog food puzzles, long-lasting chews, and feeding devices to give your dog something to enjoy while you’re away
  • A focus on physical exercise and mental stimulation – a tired dog will be more likely to relax while when you’re gone
  • Desensitisation and counterconditioning to cues that hint you are leaving the home
  • Enriching their environment – leave the radio on to make the house feel less quiet and empty. Make sure they have access to their favourite bed and toys.
  • Medication or supplements to address the underlying anxiety


It is essential that a puppy or dog can cope with being left alone. In our busy lives, it’s unrealistic to be with them 24/7, so separation anxiety needs to be addressed with your veterinarian. It may be a journey to help your distressed friend to find comfort on their own, but there are options available to help. If you suspect your pet may be suffering from separation anxiety, please give our team a call.

Arthitis Awareness

Arthitis Awareness

Ouch! Do you ever experience sore joints on a chilly morning?
Like humans, our furry best friends can experience aches and pains caused by arthritis. These pains can become more intense over the cooler months – let us teach you a little about this common condition, so you can keep an eye out for symptoms and how to look after your pet before they become too uncomfortable.

What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term that relates to inflammation of the joints (knees, elbows, shoulders etc.).
It is known for causing discomfort, stiffness, pain and can often worsen as your pet grows older. Arthritis can affect all sorts of pets – from a tiny mouse to a 1.8m tall horse!
Many different kinds of arthritis can affect your pet; some of the most common types we see are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What causes arthritis?
Depending on the type of arthritis your pet may be experiencing, the cause can vary greatly. Some of the more common causes we see include:

  • General’ wear and tear’ – as your pet ages, their cartilage (a spongey, rubber-like material that covers the end of a bone, acting as a cushion) can start to break down.
  • Genetic – unfortunately, some types of arthritis can be passed down through family lines. It is important to be aware of this or talk to your Vet about genetic conditions if you are not sure!
  • Weight-gain – Carrying a few extra kilos can put additional stress on your pet’s joints, especially when they are walking, running and jumping!


Arthritis symptoms to look out for
Arthritis affects every pet in different ways.
Some of the most tell-tale signs your pet might be suffering are:

  • Limping or an unusual posture/stance when moving about
  • Stiffness, especially after exercise
  • A reluctance to move or stand up
  • Changed behaviour, such as a lack of interest in playing as usual or increased sleep
  • The inability to jump on furniture, climb stairs or jump into the car
  • Irritability or depression (lack of interest)
  • Growling or biting when touched
  • Visibly deformed or swollen joints

What to do if your pet is suffering from arthritis:
Come and see us! There are so many treatments available today, thanks to modern medicine.
Depending on the severity and type of arthritis your pet is suffering, our team will tailor a treatment plan just to them! It is also important to check that your pet’s arthritis isn’t an indicator of a more sinister illness.

Treatments we can suggest range from dietary supplements, special diets, weight reduction plans for overweight pets, muscle massages, specialised strengthening exercises, laser treatments, acupuncture, anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical treatments and other pain relief. We can also give you some excellent advice about making your home more comfortable for your pet (think comfy bedding, stopping cold drafts, non-skid flooring and ramps!).

Arthritis can be efficiently managed with the help of your Vet – let’s work together to make sure your best friend is enjoying life to the fullest! If you’re worried about your pet or think they are showing signs of arthritis discomfort, BOOK ONLINE, give us a call today on (07) 3807 4113 or email us at info@jstvet.com.au to organise a consultation.